Good design is always the objective, but there are many ways to go about achieving it. Sometimes you want to “go all out”… you know, oversized photographic backgrounds, custom fonts, graphical bells and whistles. Other times it’s nice to adopt Swiss style and present information in a pure, clean way that’s unhindered by 3-d effects or Photoshop filters. Either way, your content will be the same, more or less. That’s why most web designers have adopted the approach which separates content from style from functionality.
This is not really news, but I guess it depends on your concept of recent history. It seems like life moves faster on the Internet – maybe like dog years. So much can happen that was great that you’re not aware of until later. But at least with information so accessible and omnipresent you will become aware of it at SOME point. Before the internet and instant search results, who could really keep up?
I guess my unifying point is that multiple options could exist simultaneously but your intent is often to arrive at only one. Neither one is wrong, and both might be necessary (when one idea leads to another), but they exist separately. Maybe you can use the other one next year? But for your immediate purposes you usually want to think your choices made an improvement over the alternative.
This all makes perfect sense for me to say since it’s on my mind, since I do these things all day. They all run together as my job. But technology sets the pace of business doesn’t it? For example, if Google DeepMind develops a plausible system of hands-free automobile driving (I’m not talking driverless, I’m talking mind-control), does Lexus need to consider the implications to remain competitive? What if I can’t stop thinking I left the iron on at home but I’m late for a meeting, does the car just park on the highway until I make a decision?
Someone has to separate what’s useful from what’s possible. Someone else has to separate what happens from what’s intended. That’s a lot of grey area to contend with. What’s desirable often means you as an end-user need to re-think your own outlook.