World of Warcraft, an online lootfest that pits dwarves against demons, is the world’s most popular MMO. According to a graphic charting the 80 most important designs since 1983, it’s also, apparently, a paragon of design.
Ziba, a Portland-based design consultancy, asked staff members to think back over the organization’s 29-year history and submit the top five designs that changed the way we think about the world. Then they grouped the submissions into examples of statements that have only become true in the past few decades: “The mundane shall be celebrated,” or (World of Warcraft fit into this one), “Connectivity is like oxygen.” Then, they visualized the results.
These innovation lists can be predictable, but a few of the firm’s categories suggest a new way of looking at phenomena such as PowerPoint or Viagra. Tamagotchi, for instance, is cast as an emblem of the statement “Technology never sleeps.” Arnold Schwarzenegger slips into the list under “Over-the-top is par for the course.” Yes, the iPod and Twitter make an appearance, but Ziba’s mention of international innovations like the Tata Nano, Grameen Bank, and M-Pesa, which brought SMS-based digital money transfers to rural villages, make this a list of more than the usual suspects.
There are a few things missing: Where’s Napster? The GIF? TED talks? Yelp? Do you think they missed any pivotal design moments of the ’80s, ’90s and ’00s? Let us know in the comments.GW