Remember those heady days, circa 1997, when if you wanted to change the world it seemed you had to be 23? Apparently, they never went away. Just look at Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook. Or the lesser known Vitor Lourenco, a 21-year-old Sao Paulo native who's been the designer behind Twitter's wild success. Designer's couch has an interview with the astonishingly self-possessed and well read whippersnapper, who's already done work for clients including Yahoo! at an age when his peers are still trying to pretend that they never liked the Jonas brothers:
A constant theme that you carry on your Web site is "simplicity." Why do you prefer this approach over one that might be more graphical?
I believe that a good interface is the one that fades gracefully, allowing content to be in the very front row. As a designer, you must always remember that, in most cases, your users aren't there to appreciate your mad visual skills, but to accomplish a task that is important for them in some way. I love a quote from Alan Cooper that says: "No matter how cool your interface is, less of it would be better."
You've also worked on other social sites such as Yahoo! and the Orkut app. From your experience, what are the key aspects in design necessary for such sites to be successful?
Each project has its own key aspects, and most of the time a project's success is not only attached to its design. There are deeper concerns for a project to be successful, most of them related to solving a problem that users have. You always have to ask yourself if you're solving an actual problem—then it's a matter of executing it in the right way, and there's no formula for that.
Read the entire interview here. And afterwards, try to forget when your next birthday is.