Putting the person back into personal information
Last week Facebook made what id call one of the most dramatic changes in how it functionally operates by allowing people do change how they display information.
Until recently Facebooks primary high level purpose was to collect and store and display user personal information, with all information being displayed the same way for everyone. For example my employment information could be displayed exactly the same way as another user, in the same formatting, even though the information is different.
Moving forward we now have a different direction where we can style how that information is displayed, It effectively puts the person back into the personal data whilst still maintaining the flatness relationship of the data.
Although proper database is critical to any web design something which in most cases i would consider it a fundamental keystone depending on the project objectives. Without good database design you wont have the functionality needed for the user to be able to interact with the site.
Of course in saying that you mustn’t forget there is a end user that needs to use the website!
Then there is knowing how much you can trust the user not to corrupt the sterile data environment. Stripping out anything that a user could possibly do is the second most fundamental rule of any design in making sure a end user doesn’t functionally break the site. But you would never want to sacrifice the user at the expense of functionality, the end user is the reason why you are building the website in most cases and if you don’t have buy in from them what are you designing for.
From a higher level again this move is something that is not at all surprising and is something that i think has been lacking in the last few years with the emphasis more around protecting data than displaying it.