is a blog about design, technology and culture written by Khoi Vinh, and has been more or less continuously published since December 2000 in New York City. Khoi is currently Principal Designer at Adobe, Design Chair at Wildcard and co-founder of Kidpost. Previously, Khoi was co-founder and CEO of Mixel (acquired by Etsy, Inc.), Design Director of The New York Times Online, and co-founder of the design studio Behavior, LLC. He is the author of “Ordering Disorder: Grid Principles for Web Design,” and was named one of Fast Company’s “fifty most influential designers in America.” Khoi lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn with his wife and three children. Refer to the advertising and sponsorship page for inquiries.+
It’s been a crazy week since we launched Mixel last Wednesday night. The feedback has been tremendously positive, but there have been some dissenters too. Particularly regarding our requirement that users login with Facebook.
We’ve heard many times that this is a challenge for some, a nonstarter for others, and downright offensive to a few. It’s been a heated discussion, and we’ve listened carefully. After finally catching my breath a bit, I managed to put together our thoughts on the subject. In the interest of making it as digestible as possible, I’ve framed it as a Q & A, and you can find it over at this link on the Mixel Web site.
Hopefully this will help clarify everything that we’ve been thinking about this topic. But to sum up quickly: the reason we use Facebook login is that it lets us build the Mixel community around real names. This is by far the most important element of Facebook for us, and the document explains why.
I’ll also add one more thing. It’s probably not much consolation to users who feel left out of Mixel to hear this, but it was a very difficult decision for us to go with Facebook, one that we didn’t take lightly. In fact, I agonized over it almost right up until we launched, and kept asking friends, colleagues, advisors and investors for their input. No one offered a strong enough counter-argument to Facebook though, and so we stuck with the decision.
I also realize that my answers will not change the minds of people who are dead-set against using Facebook. Nevertheless, we value and pay close attention to all the feedback we receive, and it pains me to know that some people have dismissed Mixel before trying it solely because of our login system. We don’t believe there’s a viable alternative today, but hopefully that will change tomorrow.+