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Tom ISW
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This is gonna get a bit philosophical, but…Memetic design.

Most things in our culture, be it media, design, language, etc. is “good” (i.e. useful or high quality) information that gets shared and re-shared by many people. The more functional the design, the more “memetic” it is. Think about your house – it’s likely the design of your house is identical to most other houses you’ve been into. It has a lounge, a kitchen, a dining area, bathroom, etc. That’s because that idea of a house is a unit of information that’s been transmitted over and over and “embedded” itself in a majority of people. It’s similar to natural selection.

Viral marketing works along the same principle – the good ideas (or content, or designs) survive, while the bad or non-functional ones perish. [USER=34615]@Zava Design[/USER] touched on it with his post. It operates on such a base level, we don’t think “this is what a website ought to look like” or “this is what I’d like my website to look like” but more “websites look like this, and if my website doesn’t, I don’t have a website by definition.”