Designing for permanence

Jennifer Fraser brings up an interesting point in What I Bring to UX From “¦ Architecture:

As an architect, the implicit permanence of designing a building carries with it a sense of responsibility”¦ I can’t help but wonder if we would have better designed products if some of that responsibility and sense of permanence of architecture found its way into what we do as user experience designers.

We live in an environment where most web design is seen as variable. With A/B testing, Minimum Viable Products, and the prevalence of Content Management Systems, nothing is set in stone. If something doesn’t work, we change it immediately – and see the results of those changes immediately as well. This is a very good thing; optimizing user experiences is, after all, what we do.

But I do wonder what would happen if we felt the weight of responsibility a little more when we’re designing. What if we go into a project as if the design we come up with might be around for 100 years or more? Would we make it fit into the web environment better, give it a timeless aesthetic, and spend more time considering the consequences of our design decisions?