Designing this site: Its all about control!

Arrgh! I am truly having a hard time trying to design this blog. After running a blog at xanga.com for a bit, I realize that at Blogspot I have to be a robot. I have to learn to read HTML code. But I not a robot, so I cant. What I don’t get is why can’t Blogspot create a site has a point and click system like Xanga? Then I realized, it’s about control and more specifically control of content.
At Xanga, its all point and click and html formatted, it’s pretty easy to beautify your blog and put up nice little pictures and stuff. You can also change colors of your title blocks and what naught. But what is the nett effect? You get a blog that has ad banners, and unwanted links all over the place. Of cause the premium (pay) section of xanga minuses all the nastiness, and you get extra space for pictures etc. But I like to compare apples to apples as blogspot is free.
Check out my Xanga site for more information on what I mean: http://www.xanga.com/Acornanvil
I think this leads to a much bigger scenario on the web and with internet access. There is a lot of talk about the “post PC era”. A utopia where we can connect to the internet without the PC “middle man”. So when designing such direct to internet products, the question is:

“How much control do you give a user so that he gets the best experience possible when using your product?”

Do I want a TV that can connect to the internet, but the thing I can do is surf and read selected content? So simple that I can navigate from my remote control but this means I can’t even email or choose the websites that I want?
Do I want an internet radio that has a preset list of internet stations when at the end of the day I can hunt for much more on the computer?
Do I want a Nintendo DS that can provide me a gaming experience so streamlined that the only thing I can do is play the game and get out? I cant even “chat” nor interact with other players in anyway? (More on my Nintendo DS online experience next.)
The more streamlined a product is, the less control you have and the more control the product’s maker has on you.
On a smaller local level, at blogspot I have an awful experience setting up and designing my site when compared to xanga.
But I realize I am a control freak and I’m sure as there are others as well.
This leads me to think this is really about the end user. “Who” really is your target market? In today’s Design and Innovation credos about ignoring user focus groups to design the next innovative products or focusing on targets markets makes us optimizers not innovators, I am finding more and more situations where understanding the target market and user still holds true.
I believe it’s the idea that is innovative, an idea that does not come out of a focus group or a target market study. But how this idea transform to a usable tangible experience, that’s where understanding your target consumer and how he/she will use this product that will make this idea/concept a success.
Nice little rant, but my problem still stands with blogspot, well I guess at the end of the day I need to find my way around the google way.

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