The design portal model we’re all come to know over the last 8-10 years is quickly becoming irrelevant. Attention is obviously turning to many blogs, but even when taking design blogs into account, there seems to be a void for central places for inspiration, news, conversation and education in web design.
Some design portals are still around – K10K, Surfstation, DesignIsKinky – but even these have become enormous, inert shells for news updates within a small iframe (as if they weren’t used as this all along).
Other portals are aware of the need for change and are evolving, like NewsToday, which is now QBN. BD4D still seems to be going strong, but with events, not so much with their site (which used to be a portal).
And then there’s heavy weights like theFWA which is the de facto place for satisfying your Flash cravings.
Ultrashock has gone in an interesting direction and transformed themselves to a creative asset resource site (think Veer with social networking). Don’t worry, they still have the Bombshock Awards.
Fallen to the wayside are Pixelsurgeon, Lounge72, and Moluv (that I was an editor on for 3 years).
So what’s next? Is there a next? With more and more companies and businesses realizing the power of design – online, product and otherwise – the agendas are different. Job postings are growing more and more important on the design portals that have survived (I see Krop everywhere). We’re also seeing more and more endorsements and advertising from big businesses on design sites, which tells us more people are taking design seriously.
It’s much bigger than web design now, and the message of portals needs to be bigger and broader. Advertising models are being turned on their heads, old media will be trying to figure out digital media distribution for what I bet will be a while and what people consider their TV and their computer aren’t quite clear anymore.
As the plates of interactive design shift, be prepared for some rebuilding.