Bowman leaves Google

20 Mar 2009 - 4:15pm
5 years ago
65 replies
1961 reads
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

Posted without comment, even though I very much feel Google just lost
an amazing talent for no good reason:
http://stopdesign.com/archive/2009/03/20/goodbye-google.html

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Chief Design Officer, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

Comments

20 Mar 2009 - 5:07pm
Dan Saffer
2003

On Mar 20, 2009, at 2:15 PM, Andrei Herasimchuk wrote:

> Google just lost an amazing talent for no good reason:

No good reason?

"When a company is filled with engineers, it turns to engineering to
solve problems. Reduce each decision to a simple logic problem. Remove
all subjectivity and just look at the data. Data in your favor? Ok,
launch it. Data shows negative effects? Back to the drawing board. And
that data eventually becomes a crutch for every decision, paralyzing
the company and preventing it from making any daring design decisions.

Yes, it’s true that a team at Google couldn’t decide between two
blues, so they’re testing 41 shades between each blue to see which one
performs better. I had a recent debate over whether a border should be
3, 4 or 5 pixels wide, and was asked to prove my case."

Seems like reason enough for me.

Dan

20 Mar 2009 - 5:21pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Mar 20, 2009, at 3:07 PM, Dan Saffer wrote:

> Seems like reason enough for me.

So you think that testing 41 shades of blue or arguing about borders
being 2 to 4 pixels to the point of being asked to prove 2 is better
than 4 is a good thing? That all design decisions should be driven by
Google's insistence on data driven design by committee?

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Chief Design Officer, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

20 Mar 2009 - 5:36pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

>
> So you think that testing 41 shades of blue or arguing about borders being
> 2 to 4 pixels to the point of being asked to prove 2 is better than 4 is a
> good thing? That all design decisions should be driven by Google's
> insistence on data driven design by committee?
>

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess you two are having a communication
problem.

Dan—Andrei meant "Google lost someone because they're obsessed with testing
every last thing in the world", not "Bowman left for no good reason."

Andrei—Dan misinterpreted what you said and cited Google's testing obsession
as a good reason to leave. In other words, you're both saying the same
thing—that Google's obsession caused Bowman to leave, and that it's a bad
thing.

Eh?

-r-

20 Mar 2009 - 5:43pm
Andrew Boyd
2008

Hi Andrei,

I'm not sure that this is about wrong or right. I think it is about cultural
fit. I am not sure that I could work easily with people prepared to die in a
ditch over a single pixel either. But then again, I'd be happy to offer my
best advice and then see how the result worked in practice, no matter which
way the decision went.

I think we all have the option to pick our battles, and should have the
grace/maturity to accept that we may not fit into a given organisation (and
subsequently walk). As cool as it is, I'm not sure I'd fit into the Big G
either - although working with Mr Veen on the Analytics stuff would have
been totally awesome.

Have you read Bob Sutton's book with the NSFW title? Maybe we need a
Designerly Way equivalent to the "when everyone around you is an a**hole,
chances are, you are the a**hole" - and relate it to cultural fit.

Best regards, Andrew

On Sat, Mar 21, 2009 at 9:21 AM, Andrei Herasimchuk <
aherasimchuk at involutionstudios.com> wrote:

>
> On Mar 20, 2009, at 3:07 PM, Dan Saffer wrote:
>
> Seems like reason enough for me.
>>
>
> So you think that testing 41 shades of blue or arguing about borders being
> 2 to 4 pixels to the point of being asked to prove 2 is better than 4 is a
> good thing? That all design decisions should be driven by Google's
> insistence on data driven design by committee?
>
> --
> Andrei Herasimchuk
>
> Chief Design Officer, Involution Studios
> innovating the digital world
>
> e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
> c. +1 408 306 6422
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
---
Andrew Boyd
http://uxaustralia.com.au -- UX Australia Conference Canberra 2009
http://uxbookclub.org -- connect, read, discuss
http://govux.org -- the government user experience forum
http://resilientnationaustralia.org Resilient Nation Australia

20 Mar 2009 - 6:08pm
usabilitymedic
2008

Definitely what I saw too. A slight misinterpretation.

Sent from my iPhone

On Mar 20, 2009, at 6:36 PM, Robert Hoekman Jr <robert at rhjr.net> wrote:

>>
>> So you think that testing 41 shades of blue or arguing about
>> borders being
>> 2 to 4 pixels to the point of being asked to prove 2 is better than
>> 4 is a
>> good thing? That all design decisions should be driven by Google's
>> insistence on data driven design by committee?
>>
>
> I'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess you two are having a
> communication
> problem.
>
> Dan—Andrei meant "Google lost someone because they're obsessed with
> testing
> every last thing in the world", not "Bowman left for no good reason."
>
> Andrei—Dan misinterpreted what you said and cited Google's testing o
> bsession
> as a good reason to leave. In other words, you're both saying the same
> thing—that Google's obsession caused Bowman to leave, and that it's
> a bad
> thing.
>
> Eh?
>
> -r-
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
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20 Mar 2009 - 6:37pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Hi Andrew,

There is a bit of religion here, so be fore-warned. In my temple, I
want design to acknowledge the power of soul. My atheist
interpretation of said soul is "connectedness".

What I see in the Google-way is dispassionate and thus souless. Is it
successful? can't deny they have success. But is the success b/c of
the design, or because of something else. IMHO, data-driven design
can lead to success, but it is not the type of success I can live
with. I.e. I wouldn't want to work for Phillip Morris or Exxon
Mobile either. Success without soul is a choice for many.

As a designer though, it seems that soul-lessness is anti-thetical to
the artistic roots of design. So if you want to research and derive
inspiration from research, or research and live by the data, that is
a choice, but I would argue that one is design and the other is not.

-- dave

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40237

20 Mar 2009 - 6:57pm
ambroselittle
2008

On Fri, Mar 20, 2009 at 9:37 AM, dave malouf <dave.ixd at gmail.com> wrote:

> So if you want to research and derive
> inspiration from research, or research and live by the data, that is
> a choice, but I would argue that one is design and the other is not.
>

Dave, I think I agree. The problem with data is it requires analysis, which
implies interpretation, which can introduce bias anyways. Then you're
misled into thinking you're making right decisions based on data when you're
actually making it based on subjective interpretation. Using data as an
input into design is great. Being tethered to it (or needing it for every
decision) is not so good, IMO, FWIW. :)

-a

20 Mar 2009 - 7:42pm
Jared M. Spool
2003

On Mar 20, 2009, at 5:21 PM, Andrei Herasimchuk wrote:

> On Mar 20, 2009, at 3:07 PM, Dan Saffer wrote:
>
>> Seems like reason enough for me.
>
> So you think that testing 41 shades of blue or arguing about borders
> being 2 to 4 pixels to the point of being asked to prove 2 is better
> than 4 is a good thing? That all design decisions should be driven
> by Google's insistence on data driven design by committee?

I read Dan's response as he thinks that *is* a good reason to leave.
(You had originally stated that they scared Doug away for "no good
reason".)

Of course, if I misinterpreted Dan's response, I apologize.

Jared

20 Mar 2009 - 7:45pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Mar 20, 2009, at 5:42 PM, Jared Spool wrote:

> I read Dan's response as he thinks that *is* a good reason to leave.
> (You had originally stated that they scared Doug away for "no good
> reason".)

Yes, as noted by you and robert, I think that is the case as well. I
phrased my initial post a little too vaguely.

-Andrei

21 Mar 2009 - 1:57am
Dan Saffer
2003

On Mar 20, 2009, at 3:21 PM, Andrei Herasimchuk wrote:

>
> On Mar 20, 2009, at 3:07 PM, Dan Saffer wrote:
>
>> Seems like reason enough for me.
>
> So you think that testing 41 shades of blue or arguing about borders
> being 2 to 4 pixels to the point of being asked to prove 2 is better
> than 4 is a good thing? That all design decisions should be driven
> by Google's insistence on data driven design by committee?

I think we're in violent agreement. I assuredly do NOT think is this a
good thing.

(Which is not to say you can't do some interesting stuff with data and
design and testing.)

Dan

21 Mar 2009 - 2:21am
Harry Brignull
2004

Data-driven design, though, is not entirely a bad thing, is it?

The whole web 2 approach of getting a basic webapp out there in beta, then
optimising and extending it based on user behaviour / feedback - that's data
driven post launch. Even running tests on paper prototypes, is, in some
respects, data driven, but qualitative and messy.

It seems there's a continuum from anal retentive "Every pixel must be
quantitatively tested for impact on our KPIs" to creative "use qual and
quant data as appropriate to steer our creative design process".

As Dave M said earier - "if you want to research and derive inspiration from
research, or research and live by the data, that is a choice, but I would
argue that one is design and the other is not."

Harry

--
http://www.90percentofeverything.com

21 Mar 2009 - 5:12am
AJ Kock
2007

The problem with pure data-driven design (testing for 4 vs 2 pixels)
is that they might be missing the point that the result is only valid
for that moment. Humans are not happy with things staying the same (it
might be part of the our survival mechanism to keep changing), because
one year we might like curvy cars and the next year we like boxed
cars. Design from Dave's p.o.v. acknowledges the potential for change
in a design and data-driven design doesn't.

21 Mar 2009 - 2:29am
Peter Van Dijck
2008

As Dave M said earier - "if you want to research and derive inspiration from
> research, or research and live by the data, that is a choice, but I would
> argue that one is design and the other is not."
>

So if the data tells you something and you ignore it, is that "design"?

Peter

>
>
>
> Harry
>
> --
> http://www.90percentofeverything.com
> ________________________________________________________________
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Belgium: (+32) 03/325 88 70
Skype id: peterkevandijck

21 Mar 2009 - 2:08am
Peter Van Dijck
2008

If the 2 versus 4 pixels thing is on a crucial page like the Google search
results or list of adsense ads, surely it's a MUST to test it and let the
data speak? No? or would you redesign the ads, see revenue go down and not
change your mind?
Peter

On Sat, Mar 21, 2009 at 7:57 AM, Dan Saffer <dan at odannyboy.com> wrote:

>
> On Mar 20, 2009, at 3:21 PM, Andrei Herasimchuk wrote:
>
>
>> On Mar 20, 2009, at 3:07 PM, Dan Saffer wrote:
>>
>> Seems like reason enough for me.
>>>
>>
>> So you think that testing 41 shades of blue or arguing about borders being
>> 2 to 4 pixels to the point of being asked to prove 2 is better than 4 is a
>> good thing? That all design decisions should be driven by Google's
>> insistence on data driven design by committee?
>>
>
> I think we're in violent agreement. I assuredly do NOT think is this a good
> thing.
>
> (Which is not to say you can't do some interesting stuff with data and
> design and testing.)
>
> Dan
>
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
me: http://petervandijck.com
blog: http://poorbuthappy.com/ease/
global UX consulting: http://290s.com
free travel guides: http://poorbuthappy.com
Belgium: (+32) 03/325 88 70
Skype id: peterkevandijck

21 Mar 2009 - 5:16am
Peter Van Dijck
2008

I think that's wrong. Why can't I continue to measure and change stuff?
In any case, data driven design doesn't mean there's no place for the
designer. Who else will come up with stuff that we can then measure?

Peter

On Sat, Mar 21, 2009 at 11:12 AM, AJKock <ajkock at gmail.com> wrote:

> The problem with pure data-driven design (testing for 4 vs 2 pixels)
> is that they might be missing the point that the result is only valid
> for that moment. Humans are not happy with things staying the same (it
> might be part of the our survival mechanism to keep changing), because
> one year we might like curvy cars and the next year we like boxed
> cars. Design from Dave's p.o.v. acknowledges the potential for change
> in a design and data-driven design doesn't.
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
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>

--
me: http://petervandijck.com
blog: http://poorbuthappy.com/ease/
global UX consulting: http://290s.com
free travel guides: http://poorbuthappy.com
Belgium: (+32) 03/325 88 70
Skype id: peterkevandijck

21 Mar 2009 - 12:18pm
AJ Kock
2007

@ Peter Can data-driven design predict future design? No, it can only
measure today. Design is more than just testing for today; it also
envisions tomorrow.

21 Mar 2009 - 12:43pm
Katie Albers
2005

Let's back up a step here...why does stuff have to be measurable? Is
it no longer possible to assess without numbers? On the whole (and
yes, I acknowledge that there are significant exceptions) the SMART
methodology did design no service. There are things we know or notice
that are simply ineluctable. To say something is "better" is an
explicitly non-measurable statement. There are decisions we make that
are in spite of data to the contrary...and they result in something
"better".

Let's take a really obvious example: Every test I've ever seen shows
that people are measurably faster using a mouse-based interface than a
command-based interface. At an extremely high level of expertise both
in typing and in the app, people do, in fact, become faster using the
commands... but "membership" in this group is much smaller than the
number of people who believe they are in the group. Thus, we have
people using commands when the menus would be faster for them, and
swearing by their mothers and their puppies that the commands are
faster. You can demonstrate to them that they are slower this way and
they will simply not believe you (although some of the reasons" people
come up with are really entertaining). Take away their commands, and
you will get a lot of people dropping out. If one of the data points
you're supposed to be designing to is speed of use, do you take away
the commands anyway? (Mind you, I don't think anyone in this field
will probably acknowledge being one of those who benefits from menus,
so it's almost impossible to get them to consider the possibility of
removing the commands anyway).

How do you reconcile data and design (in its broadest sense) here? Why
do you need to? Why do we have this aversion to simply admitting that
people have non-measurable, but critically important, preferences and
we need to acknowledge those and incorporate them into design?
(Obviously, in the case of commands, we do just that, but often that's
more a matter of default than decision.)

Katie Albers
Founder & Principal Consultant
FirstThought
User Experience Strategy & Project Management
310 356 7550
katie at firstthought.com

On Mar 21, 2009, at 3:16 AM, Peter Van Dijck wrote:

> I think that's wrong. Why can't I continue to measure and change
> stuff?
> In any case, data driven design doesn't mean there's no place for the
> designer. Who else will come up with stuff that we can then measure?
>
> Peter
>
> On Sat, Mar 21, 2009 at 11:12 AM, AJKock <ajkock at gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> The problem with pure data-driven design (testing for 4 vs 2 pixels)
>> is that they might be missing the point that the result is only valid
>> for that moment. Humans are not happy with things staying the same
>> (it
>> might be part of the our survival mechanism to keep changing),
>> because
>> one year we might like curvy cars and the next year we like boxed
>> cars. Design from Dave's p.o.v. acknowledges the potential for change
>> in a design and data-driven design doesn't.
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
>> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>>
>
>
>
> --
> me: http://petervandijck.com
> blog: http://poorbuthappy.com/ease/
> global UX consulting: http://290s.com
> free travel guides: http://poorbuthappy.com
> Belgium: (+32) 03/325 88 70
> Skype id: peterkevandijck
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
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21 Mar 2009 - 1:38pm
Andy Edmonds
2004

Web search in particular is one of the most utilitarian instances of
software these days. Having spent 2.5 years doing search quality / UX
assessment at MSFT, I'm a firm believer that every change in search
should be tested vigorously and that a design team that isn't
enthusiastic about testing isn't worth having.

That said, my opinion for other software products is less strict. The
critical flaw, in any situation, is putting design modifications to
test without attempting to learn from the test to improve future
design. Playing roulette with a testing protocol every time you do
something new is a horrible way to do business, even if you have the
user traffic to detect miniscule differences.

In many, if not all, test protocols, the design of the test should
help the team better understand the users, tasks, etc. so that future
design decisions can be made more effectively.

AndyEd... http://surfmind.com

On Sat, Mar 21, 2009 at 3:08 AM, Peter Van Dijck
<petervandijck at gmail.com> wrote:
> If the 2 versus 4 pixels thing is on a crucial page like the Google search
> results or list of adsense ads, surely it's a MUST to test it and let the
> data speak? No? or would you redesign the ads, see revenue go down and not
> change your mind?
> Peter
<snip>

21 Mar 2009 - 1:39pm
Peter Van Dijck
2008

We agree then. My point is not that we don't need design. My point is that
design should be humble and listen to data.
Peter

On Sat, Mar 21, 2009 at 6:18 PM, AJKock <ajkock at gmail.com> wrote:

> @ Peter Can data-driven design predict future design? No, it can only
> measure today. Design is more than just testing for today; it also
> envisions tomorrow.
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
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blog: http://poorbuthappy.com/ease/
global UX consulting: http://290s.com
free travel guides: http://poorbuthappy.com
Belgium: (+32) 03/325 88 70
Skype id: peterkevandijck

21 Mar 2009 - 1:58pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Hi Peter,
My answer about "listening to data" is "it depends".
If the data is, your revenue has fallen X% and the data can SHOW that
a design decision led to that fall (as opposed to other contexts such
as economy, politics, quality of goods being sold, etc.) then of
course I'll listen to it.

If the data is a "usability test" of users in a lab, it really
depends on how, what and why it is being tested and what the test may
or may not prove and are we talking about "better" by .1% or are we
talking "better" by say 75%? And what was the quality of the A/B
results themselves. Did one lead to direct failure and other 100%
success? What if A had a higher efficiency factor, but led to less
enjoyment? and B had lower efficiency, but led to greater enjoyment?
Both led to some change in revenue generating activity but
non-correlative. Blah blah blah. This can go on for generations.

What I know for sure, Is that I don't trust the lab. Never have, and
probably never will. Results from logs, sales, observations of use in
the field. These I believe in deeply.

Now, your question was asking, what is design and what isn't. And
that is a different question. My point was one of defining a
continuum and setting up an absolute, so to suggest that listening or
not listening to data is or isn't design is absurd. What it is, is a
continuum and usually a balance leads to best practice (not "best
practices").

-- dave

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40237

21 Mar 2009 - 2:15pm
DampeS8N
2008

I think ALL of you are really arguing the same side.

Collecting Data is a big part of IxD, and like any field with a
science background, that data need not be collected a second time for
the same problem.

Do biologists retest basic chemistry in order to make a biological
experiment? Certainly not.

What google is doing, and why that is bad, is they have taken to
retesting. They have developed a culture where they don't
extrapolate from prior testing, like we IxDs do, even when it was not
our test.

The 41 blues issue is a valid one. I'm positive that testing these
41 blues will garner results. Those results, if not spread over at
least 1 million people, will not carry any value. But they will be
results. If the sample is large enough, they may find that indeed the
darker blue (if the background is light) will be the better choice.

However, any one of us could have pointed at the blue that would do
best because we have learned the value of contrast.

Given the backgrounds google normally picks. It is obvious that the
one with the greatest contrast (normally the darkest one) will test
better. Because the few people in the sample that have trouble with
low contrast will find the higher contrast helpful, and it won't
annoy anyone.

The reason the 41 blue test is bad, is any one of us would have told
google the right choice for FREE!

Because we are informed by other, older, tests. And a healthy spoon
full of our own observations.

We are all arguing the same things. Testing is good, when it isn't
moronic. Using what we have learned already is the design of IxD and
is only good if informed by good data. Which we mostly are. Not
perfect, but test data isn't perfect either, and we are a hell of a
lot cheaper than testing everything must be.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40237

21 Mar 2009 - 2:17pm
Mark Schraad
2006

Data driven business decisions (and the offshoot being discussed here
- design decisions) is a significant movement… much of it being
fostered from engineers and statisticians. The notion that we, the
humans, do not need to know the why, but only what he data tells us
to do is at the core of its controversy. There have been many
articles published on this recently and even a few in the popular
press (Time and Business Week as I recall).

There are a couple of issues here. The first, is the notion that
human understanding of the ‘why’ in insignificant. I find this
troubling. More and more I run into folks who want a decision that is
not encumbered by ‘mistake prone’ humans. This is silly, and frankly,
it is a weak ass approach to decision making. It is unrealistic and
devoid of an important part of decision-making… judgment. Statistics
do in fact lie. Following this purely data driven approach,
executives often become the victim of type 3 errors (sometimes called
a type 0 error) in which the wrong questions was asked.

A wise professor once told me that having research is much better
than not, but in the end… once you have absorbed and evaluated all of
the data, you still have to make a decision. The same is true whether
you are using qualitative research, quantitative research, accounting
numbers or other business metrics… it must be interpreted, weighed
and assessed for significance… then you make a decision. The data
should never render the decision for you.

Further… making the choice between selections A, B, and C is the easy
step (as pointed out by Tichy and Bennis in their recent book
‘Judgment’). You still have to evangelize, execute and follow through
with the decision. That is hardly do-able if you have let the data
take the first step. Not knowing the why is crippling in the ‘whole’
of the decision process.

Mark

21 Mar 2009 - 2:22pm
Peter Van Dijck
2008

>
>
> The reason the 41 blue test is bad, is any one of us would have told
> google the right choice for FREE!

That's a false argument, because you're saying that designers should then be
trusted to know what they know and know what they don't know.

Peter

21 Mar 2009 - 2:23pm
Peter Van Dijck
2008

>
> A wise professor once told me that having research is much better than not,
> but in the end… once you have absorbed and evaluated all of the data, you
> still have to make a decision.

Of course, I don't think anyone would argue that you place the
decision-making with the machines? We've all seen that movie :)

Peter

21 Mar 2009 - 2:25pm
Mark Schraad
2006

I find some issue with this argument. Re-applying solutions to new
problems is not ideal. It goes to one of my pet peeves... applying
solutions from books, that may or may not have a similar context or
problem. I see MBA's and business owners reading books like 'Good to
Great' and then enthusiastically applying said recipe to their
company. The same goes with using tertiary research... proceed with
caution and even skepticism.

I am one of the first to talk about wasting time with eye tracking.
The Cog-science folks have already gathered most of the important
data and knowledge from those kinds of studies. But applying
learnings from instance specific research to similar but not exactly
the same context is dangerous.

Mark

On Mar 21, 2009, at 12:15 PM, William Brall wrote:

> Collecting Data is a big part of IxD, and like any field with a
> science background, that data need not be collected a second time for
> the same problem.
>
> Do biologists retest basic chemistry in order to make a biological
> experiment? Certainly not.
>
> What google is doing, and why that is bad, is they have taken to
> retesting. They have developed a culture where they don't
> extrapolate from prior testing, like we IxDs do, even when it was not
> our test.

21 Mar 2009 - 3:53pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Mar 21, 2009, at 12:15 PM, William Brall wrote:

> Collecting Data is a big part of IxD, and like any field with a
> science background, that data need not be collected a second time for
> the same problem.

Science background?

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Chief Design Officer, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

21 Mar 2009 - 7:47pm
Jarod Tang
2007

One side question, what do you think about google's new icon compare to old
one?

Cheers,
-- Jarod

On Sat, Mar 21, 2009 at 5:15 AM, Andrei Herasimchuk <
aherasimchuk at involutionstudios.com> wrote:

> Posted without comment, even though I very much feel Google just lost an
> amazing talent for no good reason:
> http://stopdesign.com/archive/2009/03/20/goodbye-google.html
>
> --
> Andrei Herasimchuk
>
> Chief Design Officer, Involution Studios
> innovating the digital world
>
> e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
> c. +1 408 306 6422
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
http://designforuse.blogspot.com/

21 Mar 2009 - 7:59pm
Larry Tesler
2004

Yes, over-reliance on data-driven incremental design (DDID) is ill-
advised.

- Customers who use more than one of a company's products tend to be
the most valuable customers in the long run. DDID usually optimizes
one product at a time. The resulting inconsistencies may make each
product a bit more profitable but can make it less likely for a heavy
user of one to become a casual user of another.

- DDID is an effective way to climb a little higher on a profit hill.
It will never get you off the current hill onto a taller mountain.

- Changing shades of blue and line widths can nudge a product higher
on its current hill. But an organization that makes choices based
solely on the basis of performance data won't learn why a certain
shade or width works better, and is unlikely to apply the lesson to
the next project. Revenue is foregone, costs mount and precious
resources are tied up while each new product is gradually optimized.

But many managers love DDID. It a systematic, replicable, and
inherently measurable. Delight in the experience and passion for the
product line are much harder to measure. The non-mathematical way that
designers go about evoking such emotions isn't something that the
staffing and training departments can reliably replicate.

These days, great success usually emerges from a smart combination of
analytical thinking and design thinking, a combination that requires
mutual respect and cooperation as equals among the various
practitioners.

Larry Tesler

> When a company is filled with engineers, it turns to engineering to
> solve problems. Reduce each decision to a simple logic problem.
> Remove all subjectivity and just look at the data. Data in your
> favor? Ok, launch it. Data shows negative effects? Back to the
> drawing board. And that data eventually becomes a crutch for every
> decision, paralyzing the company and preventing it from making any
> daring design decisions.

21 Mar 2009 - 8:38pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Jarod, I don't like it. I find it to be ..
1) reminiscent of MS
2) too brash and distracting

More importantly it has in no way shape or form improved my
relationship with Google (or diminished it).

I think people have missed my point.
I think design is not for or against data, but design should always
be for imbuing human expressionism beyond the measurable. A designer
of worth, merit, etc. should always be encouraged to express
themselves in any way that does not break Raskin's 1st law of
interaction design (don't fuck w/ the content, purpose or utility of
what you are designing [paraphrasing]).

When I look at a site like google, I see a souless design. Now, I use
google over Yahoo & Adobe for most things but that has nothing to do
with aesthetics. But Google would never take a risk like adding a
"Liam" (mail spelled backwards) character to their software. They
would never use the iconographic vivid imagery of a Buzzword
interface (Adobe). Because of this, these applications at least
attempt to have soul--connectedness to human expression to the world
around them.

I think people need to stop lauding Google as a design success story.
I think it hurts us b/c it is clear that it is an engineering success
story. Does that mean that engineering is better than design. I think
looking at Apple, answers that question. It doesn't. There are SOOOO
many ingredients that go into success and we would be fooling
ourselve as designers or engineers to think that any one of us
controls all of them.

BTW, the one place funny enough that Google DOES allow for a taste of
humanity is on their most precious search home page (Google.com).
Their use of holiday and historic event treatments is beautiful!!!

However, I can count on 1 hand how many times I go to Google.com
(home page) any more. Its in the chrome of my browser or in my
browser's home page, etc.

Soul!!! Time to swing the pedullum back from the austere periods
towards the more expressionist. I think we can do that and still
maintain simplicity, clarity, usability, findability, and overall
effectiveness. In fact, I'd like to challenge us to do it!

-- dave

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40237

21 Mar 2009 - 9:46pm
Jarod Tang
2007

Hi Dave,

On Sun, Mar 22, 2009 at 2:38 AM, David Malouf <dave at ixda.org> wrote:

> Jarod, I don't like it. I find it to be ..
> 1) reminiscent of MS
> 2) too brash and distracting
>
Yes, I found few likes the current Google icon near around. But many people
like the one one, that would be the interesting phenomenon to figure out.

>
> More importantly it has in no way shape or form improved my
> relationship with Google (or diminished it).
>

> I think people have missed my point.
> I think design is not for or against data, but design should always
> be for imbuing human expressionism beyond the measurable. A designer
> of worth, merit, etc. should always be encouraged to express
> themselves in any way that does not break Raskin's 1st law of
> interaction design (don't fuck w/ the content, purpose or utility of
> what you are designing [paraphrasing]).
>
> When I look at a site like google, I see a souless design. Now, I use
> google over Yahoo & Adobe for most things but that has nothing to do
> with aesthetics. But Google would never take a risk like adding a
> "Liam" (mail spelled backwards) character to their software. They
> would never use the iconographic vivid imagery of a Buzzword
> interface (Adobe). Because of this, these applications at least
> attempt to have soul--connectedness to human expression to the world
> around them.
>

A question here, since it's a phenomenon that many people prefer Google, are
there (or we call it like this?) some kind of essential aesthetic
interaction there beyond the surface? And even better, as you urged, could
we make it deeper and wider in the essential way?

Cheers,
-- Jarod

--
http://designforuse.blogspot.com/

22 Mar 2009 - 12:18am
dszuc
2005

Hi:

Re-reading Doug Bowman's post you can really feel his frustration.

Reading between the lines I hear:

* A culture that was born in Engineering (and still very much i that
space - which is what makes Google great)
* A culture that is looking at ways to embrace Design and User
Research (and not purely relying on data and statistics to back up
everything)
* Understanding when to rely on data for large design decisions and
when to go with best practice and the expertise of the Design Team
* Looking at how to promote consistency across many product sets
* When to hold onto what consumers understand as the "Google Brand"
and when to start to try something new (but not for the sake of a
re-design)
* When to rely on Data to drive new products (would love to dig into
some of those Search logs :)
* Getting your top Designers working on harder, challenging and
strategic problems
* Giving your top Design Team the political power they need to
experiment and make change happen

Some interesting complimentary pieces -

94% of Facebook users hate new design -
http://www.theage.com.au/news/technology/web/94-of-facebook-users-hate-new-design/2009/03/20/1237055063673.html

Google's Irene Au: On Design Challenges -
http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/content/mar2009/id20090318_786470.htm

Some of this also comes down to the question of "who owns/drives the
User Experience in an organzation?" and then "How do you get
everyone (product teams) onto the same page?" - have seen these same
patterns repeat for the last 10-15 years.

Data is superb, when you understand what you need the data for, how
it will be interpreted and what it really means for your products.

rgds,
Dan

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40237

22 Mar 2009 - 5:27am
Adrian Howard
2005

On 21 Mar 2009, at 12:15, William Brall wrote:
[snip]
> Collecting Data is a big part of IxD, and like any field with a
> science background, that data need not be collected a second time for
> the same problem.
[snip]

Actually it does.

Scientists recollect data and retest things - they have to. That's
what separates the theories that last from those that don't -
protecting against misinterpretation, experimental error, bias, fraud,
etc.

[snip]
> The reason the 41 blue test is bad, is any one of us would have told
> google the right choice for FREE!

... but 41 shades of blue thing came out of a designer picking a
colour that he (and the rest of the team) thought best then...

"a product manager tested a different color with users and
found they were more likely to click on the toolbar if it
was painted a greener shade." (http://tinyurl.com/acs4jp)

So the choice for free - in this particular instance - for this
particular context and goal - was not the best one.

Now - I don't know the full context of that testing. I might disagree
with how the test was run, or what was being tested, or the goal that
the business wanted to achieve.

I'd also hope that I would be open to the idea that I might be wrong -
and be willing to look for things to learn to make me a better
designer. Maybe by investigating options with some more tests :-)

It it were me the information that the colour I thought would perform
better actually perform worse would fascinate me. I'd want to figure
that out. Wouldn't you?

> Because we are informed by other, older, tests. And a healthy spoon
> full of our own observations.

... and sometimes we're wrong.

> We are all arguing the same things. Testing is good, when it isn't
> moronic. Using what we have learned already is the design of IxD and
> is only good if informed by good data. Which we mostly are. Not
> perfect, but test data isn't perfect either, and we are a hell of a
> lot cheaper than testing everything must be.

I know I am wrong on occasion. Often even :-)

From the number of times in the past I've helped some company deal
with the usability disaster that a design agency left them with - I'm
pretty sure lots of other folk are wrong on occasion too. Few people
knowingly put out bad work.

That's why I pay attention to the results of the usability tests, play
with A/B testing, look at the logs, etc. when it comes to my designs.
I use that feedback to make me better at design. Because when the
mistake is mine it's really hard to figure out which tests are moronic
and which aren't.

The nature of the problem means I'm not going to know where I'm making
a bad decision. If I did know - I wouldn't think the test was moronic!

We are all arguing the same thing though. I'm in complete agreement
that bad testing can act as as a crutch and a route to bad decisions.
Unfortunately folk making decisions based on their own expertise and
experience are sometimes wrong as well.

When it comes to design decisions I think the right response is
"Trust, but Verify".

I think what everybody is arguing about is where that trust/verify
line lives. Which is something that is going to depend on the context
you're working in - no?

Cheers,

Adrian
--
delicious.com/adrianh - twitter.com/adrianh - adrianh at quietstars.com

22 Mar 2009 - 5:34am
Adrian Howard
2005

On 21 Mar 2009, at 17:43, Katie Albers wrote:
[snip]
> How do you reconcile data and design (in its broadest sense) here?
> Why do you need to? Why do we have this aversion to simply admitting
> that people have non-measurable, but critically important,
> preferences and we need to acknowledge those and incorporate them
> into design? (Obviously, in the case of commands, we do just that,
> but often that's more a matter of default than decision.)
[snip]

Sorry... not quite understanding the argument... The keyboard/mouse
tests you're talking about measured:
* user perception of speed
* actual speed
* level of expertise

Giving a bunch of useful information that helps inform design
decisions. How you use it depends on how much of the product goal
relates to efficiency, how much to user satisfaction, how much effort
you can put in to producing experts, etc.

Would not having the data make it better? Am I misunderstanding your
point?

Confused...

Adrian
--
delicious.com/adrianh - twitter.com/adrianh - adrianh at quietstars.com

22 Mar 2009 - 6:47am
Adrian Howard
2005

Hi Dave,

On 21 Mar 2009, at 18:38, David Malouf wrote:
[snip]
> I think people have missed my point.
> I think design is not for or against data, but design should always
> be for imbuing human expressionism beyond the measurable. A designer
> of worth, merit, etc. should always be encouraged to express
> themselves in any way that does not break Raskin's 1st law of
> interaction design (don't fuck w/ the content, purpose or utility of
> what you are designing [paraphrasing]).
[snip]

Do you think there are cases where, from your perspective, a better
"design" is less effective at meeting the business goals of the product?

> When I look at a site like google, I see a souless design.
>
> Now, I use
> google over Yahoo & Adobe for most things but that has nothing to do
> with aesthetics. But Google would never take a risk like adding a
> "Liam" (mail spelled backwards) character to their software. They
> would never use the iconographic vivid imagery of a Buzzword
> interface (Adobe). Because of this, these applications at least
> attempt to have soul--connectedness to human expression to the world
> around them.

I don't find Google soulless myself... quiet and somewhat reserved
possibly - but not soulless. Buzzword's icons on the other hand I find
annoyingly distracting :-)

I'm sure we could both find folk who would agree/disagree with us.

> I think people need to stop lauding Google as a design success story.
> I think it hurts us b/c it is clear that it is an engineering success
> story.

I think it's both a design and an engineering success. I also think
it's impossible to separate the two in any meaningful way. But that's
just me.

> Does that mean that engineering is better than design. I think
> looking at Apple, answers that question. It doesn't. There are SOOOO
> many ingredients that go into success and we would be fooling
> ourselve as designers or engineers to think that any one of us
> controls all of them.

Amen.

> BTW, the one place funny enough that Google DOES allow for a taste of
> humanity is on their most precious search home page (Google.com).
> Their use of holiday and historic event treatments is beautiful!!!

And things like http://www.google.com/moon/ and http://www.google.com/mars/
and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google's_hoaxes and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google's_hoaxes#Easter_eggs
and ...

Again - I'm sure we could both find folk who would agree/disagree with
us :-)

> However, I can count on 1 hand how many times I go to Google.com
> (home page) any more. Its in the chrome of my browser or in my
> browser's home page, etc.

And that's a bad thing because?

> Soul!!! Time to swing the pedullum back from the austere periods
> towards the more expressionist. I think we can do that and still
> maintain simplicity, clarity, usability, findability, and overall
> effectiveness. In fact, I'd like to challenge us to do it!

It's a fantastic challenge and I'd love to see folk going for it with
all guns blazing.

But to meet that challenge we're going to have to listen - and listen
hard - to the feedback on simplicity, clarity, usability, findability,
and overall effectiveness.

Folk can certainly be mislead by data. Led down a path driven by their
own assumptions and bad methodology. I've seen it happen.

I've also seen people discard perfectly valid data because it doesn't
"feel" right. Because they want to do it their way. Because it's their
art. Because they know best. Not just designers - managers, developers
and sales folk too.

You get really bad products out of both camps. I've seen a _lot_ more
of the latter than I have the former. That may be atypical - I don't
know. But at the moment I think the field needs to pay more attention
to data - not less.

Cheers,

Adrian

PS ... and I have to admit my reading of Bowman's blog post wasn't
that Google's data-driven work was necessarily bad - just not what he
wanted to be doing. Which is, of course, perfectly reasonable.
--
delicious.com/adrianh - twitter.com/adrianh - adrianh at quietstars.com

22 Mar 2009 - 8:49am
Jarod Tang
2007

What i read from Bowman's blog is not about data or not, it's about trust
between design and engineering. If he had better argument(and sure there
is), he could/should show the evidence instead of complain, else the design
cant find feet in the product development process. More common, it's a
result from long trivial conflicts between different mind-set, which
triggered by what ever it is.
At most, what we can know is, we can only know something that happened
there, but that need not be the full ( even true ) story.

Cheers,
-- Jarod

On Sun, Mar 22, 2009 at 7:47 PM, Adrian Howard <adrianh at quietstars.com>wrote:

> Hi Dave,
>
> On 21 Mar 2009, at 18:38, David Malouf wrote:
> [snip]
>
>> I think people have missed my point.
>> I think design is not for or against data, but design should always
>> be for imbuing human expressionism beyond the measurable. A designer
>> of worth, merit, etc. should always be encouraged to express
>> themselves in any way that does not break Raskin's 1st law of
>> interaction design (don't fuck w/ the content, purpose or utility of
>> what you are designing [paraphrasing]).
>>
> [snip]
>
> Do you think there are cases where, from your perspective, a better
> "design" is less effective at meeting the business goals of the product?
>
> When I look at a site like google, I see a souless design.
>>
>> Now, I use
>> google over Yahoo & Adobe for most things but that has nothing to do
>> with aesthetics. But Google would never take a risk like adding a
>> "Liam" (mail spelled backwards) character to their software. They
>> would never use the iconographic vivid imagery of a Buzzword
>> interface (Adobe). Because of this, these applications at least
>> attempt to have soul--connectedness to human expression to the world
>> around them.
>>
>
> I don't find Google soulless myself... quiet and somewhat reserved possibly
> - but not soulless. Buzzword's icons on the other hand I find annoyingly
> distracting :-)
>
> I'm sure we could both find folk who would agree/disagree with us.
>
> I think people need to stop lauding Google as a design success story.
>> I think it hurts us b/c it is clear that it is an engineering success
>> story.
>>
>
> I think it's both a design and an engineering success. I also think it's
> impossible to separate the two in any meaningful way. But that's just me.
>
> Does that mean that engineering is better than design. I think
>> looking at Apple, answers that question. It doesn't. There are SOOOO
>> many ingredients that go into success and we would be fooling
>> ourselve as designers or engineers to think that any one of us
>> controls all of them.
>>
>
> Amen.
>
> BTW, the one place funny enough that Google DOES allow for a taste of
>> humanity is on their most precious search home page (Google.com).
>> Their use of holiday and historic event treatments is beautiful!!!
>>
>
> And things like http://www.google.com/moon/ and
> http://www.google.com/mars/ and
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google's_hoaxes<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google%27s_hoaxes>and
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google's_hoaxes#Easter_eggs<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google%27s_hoaxes#Easter_eggs> and
> ...
>
> Again - I'm sure we could both find folk who would agree/disagree with us
> :-)
>
> However, I can count on 1 hand how many times I go to Google.com
>> (home page) any more. Its in the chrome of my browser or in my
>> browser's home page, etc.
>>
>
> And that's a bad thing because?
>
> Soul!!! Time to swing the pedullum back from the austere periods
>> towards the more expressionist. I think we can do that and still
>> maintain simplicity, clarity, usability, findability, and overall
>> effectiveness. In fact, I'd like to challenge us to do it!
>>
>
> It's a fantastic challenge and I'd love to see folk going for it with all
> guns blazing.
>
> But to meet that challenge we're going to have to listen - and listen hard
> - to the feedback on simplicity, clarity, usability, findability, and
> overall effectiveness.
>
> Folk can certainly be mislead by data. Led down a path driven by their own
> assumptions and bad methodology. I've seen it happen.
>
> I've also seen people discard perfectly valid data because it doesn't
> "feel" right. Because they want to do it their way. Because it's their art.
> Because they know best. Not just designers - managers, developers and sales
> folk too.
>
> You get really bad products out of both camps. I've seen a _lot_ more of
> the latter than I have the former. That may be atypical - I don't know. But
> at the moment I think the field needs to pay more attention to data - not
> less.
>
> Cheers,
>
> Adrian
>
> PS ... and I have to admit my reading of Bowman's blog post wasn't that
> Google's data-driven work was necessarily bad - just not what he wanted to
> be doing. Which is, of course, perfectly reasonable.
> --
> delicious.com/adrianh - twitter.com/adrianh - adrianh at quietstars.com
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
http://designforuse.blogspot.com/

22 Mar 2009 - 9:10am
Jenifer Tidwell
2003

I am a UX designer for Google.

I wish I could dig deep into this discussion with you all, because it's very
relevant to some of the work going on there. Sadly, there are many things
about my employer that I'm not at liberty to talk about -- I'm sure many of
you can understand that. I'll make a few points, and then make a graceful
exit to my usual lurking state. :-)

* Different product teams at Google have very different approaches to
design, data, research, and "soul" in design. Some product designs I've
seen there are truly amazing and beautiful, and some designers do indeed
take risks. The cultural fit between a UX designer and a product team
depends very much on where in the organization they are. I'm confident that
that's true in most large technology companies.

* The main search properties, especially Google's main page and search
results page, are managed extremely carefully. I've seen some of the A/B
experiments run on those pages, and while I can't share much, I will say
that the results are fascinating -- you would be amazed at the usage
variations that arise from tiny design changes. And no, those variations
are not always predictable from first principles. This convinces me that we
collectively have a lot yet to learn about design.

* Yes, Google is successful at search. Very. Rhetorical question: how much
design risk SHOULD such a company take with a product that still works so
well? In that context, I think we designers would actually be irresponsible
to not test our designs with good experiments -- countless people depend on
Google's main properties, and there are lots of ad dollars (much of which go
to actual advertisers, not us) and shareholder value at stake. It's not
just about designers and our good ideas. The point about hill-climbing with
data-driven incremental changes is well taken, but honestly, don't you think
that It Would Be Bad to accidentally send Google Web Search into a design
valley while you blundered about looking for a higher hill?

* I never had the chance to meet Doug Bowman while he was at Google, though
I regret not having had a chance to work with him. I have no reason to
think of him with anything but deep respect, and I wish him well.

- Jenifer

On Sat, Mar 21, 2009 at 2:38 PM, David Malouf <dave at ixda.org> wrote:

> Jarod, I don't like it. I find it to be ..
> 1) reminiscent of MS
> 2) too brash and distracting
>
> More importantly it has in no way shape or form improved my
> relationship with Google (or diminished it).
>
> I think people have missed my point.
> I think design is not for or against data, but design should always
> be for imbuing human expressionism beyond the measurable. A designer
> of worth, merit, etc. should always be encouraged to express
> themselves in any way that does not break Raskin's 1st law of
> interaction design (don't fuck w/ the content, purpose or utility of
> what you are designing [paraphrasing]).
>
> When I look at a site like google, I see a souless design. Now, I use
> google over Yahoo & Adobe for most things but that has nothing to do
> with aesthetics. But Google would never take a risk like adding a
> "Liam" (mail spelled backwards) character to their software. They
> would never use the iconographic vivid imagery of a Buzzword
> interface (Adobe). Because of this, these applications at least
> attempt to have soul--connectedness to human expression to the world
> around them.
>
> I think people need to stop lauding Google as a design success story.
> I think it hurts us b/c it is clear that it is an engineering success
> story. Does that mean that engineering is better than design. I think
> looking at Apple, answers that question. It doesn't. There are SOOOO
> many ingredients that go into success and we would be fooling
> ourselve as designers or engineers to think that any one of us
> controls all of them.
>
> BTW, the one place funny enough that Google DOES allow for a taste of
> humanity is on their most precious search home page (Google.com).
> Their use of holiday and historic event treatments is beautiful!!!
>
> However, I can count on 1 hand how many times I go to Google.com
> (home page) any more. Its in the chrome of my browser or in my
> browser's home page, etc.
>
> Soul!!! Time to swing the pedullum back from the austere periods
> towards the more expressionist. I think we can do that and still
> maintain simplicity, clarity, usability, findability, and overall
> effectiveness. In fact, I'd like to challenge us to do it!
>
> -- dave
>
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40237
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
---------------------------------------
Jenifer Tidwell
jenifer.tidwell at gmail.com
http://designinginterfaces.com
http://jtidwell.net

22 Mar 2009 - 10:28am
Dave Malouf
2005

Jennifer, the recent Charlie Rose interview of Marissa Mayer (as she heads
UX across the entire organization, no?) really solidifies that perception.

I've also interviewed folks from Earth and other non-search props that
confirm this. Even the work in Mobile including Android is beyond
uninspiring.

As to your point about risk taking in search. I'm not sure why that point
had to be made. No one so far was suggesting that Google search should be
anything other than what it is. It's success is beyond.

The use of themes in Gmail was a brilliant addition as well. THANK G-D!! (I
wish they worked equally well across all the labs and extensions that I
have)

Ya know, Mozilla has a design labs that are pushing he envelope of designs
place in their organization. It would be realy interesting given Google's
size to let loose a lab that is design centric in its approach ala IDEO < >
R/GA (design thinking to story telling) and see what comes from it.

-- dave

On Sun, Mar 22, 2009 at 10:10 AM, Jenifer Tidwell <jenifer.tidwell at gmail.com
> wrote:

> I am a UX designer for Google.
>
> I wish I could dig deep into this discussion with you all, because it's
> very relevant to some of the work going on there. Sadly, there are many
> things about my employer that I'm not at liberty to talk about -- I'm sure
> many of you can understand that. I'll make a few points, and then make a
> graceful exit to my usual lurking state. :-)
>
> * Different product teams at Google have very different approaches to
> design, data, research, and "soul" in design. Some product designs I've
> seen there are truly amazing and beautiful, and some designers do indeed
> take risks. The cultural fit between a UX designer and a product team
> depends very much on where in the organization they are. I'm confident that
> that's true in most large technology companies.
>
> * The main search properties, especially Google's main page and search
> results page, are managed extremely carefully. I've seen some of the A/B
> experiments run on those pages, and while I can't share much, I will say
> that the results are fascinating -- you would be amazed at the usage
> variations that arise from tiny design changes. And no, those variations
> are not always predictable from first principles. This convinces me that we
> collectively have a lot yet to learn about design.
>
> * Yes, Google is successful at search. Very. Rhetorical question: how
> much design risk SHOULD such a company take with a product that still works
> so well? In that context, I think we designers would actually be
> irresponsible to not test our designs with good experiments -- countless
> people depend on Google's main properties, and there are lots of ad dollars
> (much of which go to actual advertisers, not us) and shareholder value at
> stake. It's not just about designers and our good ideas. The point about
> hill-climbing with data-driven incremental changes is well taken, but
> honestly, don't you think that It Would Be Bad to accidentally send Google
> Web Search into a design valley while you blundered about looking for a
> higher hill?
>
> * I never had the chance to meet Doug Bowman while he was at Google, though
> I regret not having had a chance to work with him. I have no reason to
> think of him with anything but deep respect, and I wish him well.
>
> - Jenifer
>
> On Sat, Mar 21, 2009 at 2:38 PM, David Malouf <dave at ixda.org> wrote:
>
>> Jarod, I don't like it. I find it to be ..
>> 1) reminiscent of MS
>> 2) too brash and distracting
>>
>> More importantly it has in no way shape or form improved my
>> relationship with Google (or diminished it).
>>
>> I think people have missed my point.
>> I think design is not for or against data, but design should always
>> be for imbuing human expressionism beyond the measurable. A designer
>> of worth, merit, etc. should always be encouraged to express
>> themselves in any way that does not break Raskin's 1st law of
>> interaction design (don't fuck w/ the content, purpose or utility of
>> what you are designing [paraphrasing]).
>>
>> When I look at a site like google, I see a souless design. Now, I use
>> google over Yahoo & Adobe for most things but that has nothing to do
>> with aesthetics. But Google would never take a risk like adding a
>> "Liam" (mail spelled backwards) character to their software. They
>> would never use the iconographic vivid imagery of a Buzzword
>> interface (Adobe). Because of this, these applications at least
>> attempt to have soul--connectedness to human expression to the world
>> around them.
>>
>> I think people need to stop lauding Google as a design success story.
>> I think it hurts us b/c it is clear that it is an engineering success
>> story. Does that mean that engineering is better than design. I think
>> looking at Apple, answers that question. It doesn't. There are SOOOO
>> many ingredients that go into success and we would be fooling
>> ourselve as designers or engineers to think that any one of us
>> controls all of them.
>>
>> BTW, the one place funny enough that Google DOES allow for a taste of
>> humanity is on their most precious search home page (Google.com).
>> Their use of holiday and historic event treatments is beautiful!!!
>>
>> However, I can count on 1 hand how many times I go to Google.com
>> (home page) any more. Its in the chrome of my browser or in my
>> browser's home page, etc.
>>
>> Soul!!! Time to swing the pedullum back from the austere periods
>> towards the more expressionist. I think we can do that and still
>> maintain simplicity, clarity, usability, findability, and overall
>> effectiveness. In fact, I'd like to challenge us to do it!
>>
>> -- dave
>>
>>
>>
>> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
>> Posted from the new ixda.org
>> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40237
>>
>>
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
>> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>>
>
>
>
> --
> ---------------------------------------
> Jenifer Tidwell
> jenifer.tidwell at gmail.com
> http://designinginterfaces.com
> http://jtidwell.net
>

--
Dave Malouf
http://davemalouf.com/
http://twitter.com/daveixd
http://scad.edu/industrialdesign
http://ixda.org/

22 Mar 2009 - 10:42am
Mark Schraad
2006

When I was running my design group in the midwest, I was always
fascinated by the two groups of clients we encountered. The first
group being those that understood design and its potential to be a
game changing influence in product development... the other being
those companies that think of it as just another step in the process
they had to get through.

The same is true when interviewing for a job. Yes... you could make a
huge difference in an organization that does not yet embrace
design... and yes there is tremendous competition for opportunities
where the company already values design as a critical strategic
skill. But large corporate cultures are really really hard to
shift... especially from a task based roll. Google has always struck
me as an engineering driven culture. And as Dave stated... the
interview with Marissa confirmed that and revealed very little chance
a for change in direction.

On Mar 22, 2009, at 11:28 AM, Dave Malouf wrote:

> Jennifer, the recent Charlie Rose interview of Marissa Mayer (as
> she heads
> UX across the entire organization, no?) really solidifies that
> perception.
>
> I've also interviewed folks from Earth and other non-search props that
> confirm this. Even the work in Mobile including Android is beyond
> uninspiring.
>
> As to your point about risk taking in search. I'm not sure why that
> point
> had to be made. No one so far was suggesting that Google search
> should be
> anything other than what it is. It's success is beyond.
>
> The use of themes in Gmail was a brilliant addition as well. THANK
> G-D!! (I
> wish they worked equally well across all the labs and extensions
> that I
> have)
>
> Ya know, Mozilla has a design labs that are pushing he envelope of
> designs
> place in their organization. It would be realy interesting given
> Google's
> size to let loose a lab that is design centric in its approach ala
> IDEO < >
> R/GA (design thinking to story telling) and see what comes from it.
>
> -- dave
>
>
>
> On Sun, Mar 22, 2009 at 10:10 AM, Jenifer Tidwell
> <jenifer.tidwell at gmail.com
>> wrote:
>
>> I am a UX designer for Google.
>>
>> I wish I could dig deep into this discussion with you all, because
>> it's
>> very relevant to some of the work going on there. Sadly, there
>> are many
>> things about my employer that I'm not at liberty to talk about --
>> I'm sure
>> many of you can understand that. I'll make a few points, and then
>> make a
>> graceful exit to my usual lurking state. :-)
>>
>> * Different product teams at Google have very different approaches to
>> design, data, research, and "soul" in design. Some product
>> designs I've
>> seen there are truly amazing and beautiful, and some designers do
>> indeed
>> take risks. The cultural fit between a UX designer and a product
>> team
>> depends very much on where in the organization they are. I'm
>> confident that
>> that's true in most large technology companies.
>>
>> * The main search properties, especially Google's main page and
>> search
>> results page, are managed extremely carefully. I've seen some of
>> the A/B
>> experiments run on those pages, and while I can't share much, I
>> will say
>> that the results are fascinating -- you would be amazed at the usage
>> variations that arise from tiny design changes. And no, those
>> variations
>> are not always predictable from first principles. This convinces
>> me that we
>> collectively have a lot yet to learn about design.
>>
>> * Yes, Google is successful at search. Very. Rhetorical
>> question: how
>> much design risk SHOULD such a company take with a product that
>> still works
>> so well? In that context, I think we designers would actually be
>> irresponsible to not test our designs with good experiments --
>> countless
>> people depend on Google's main properties, and there are lots of
>> ad dollars
>> (much of which go to actual advertisers, not us) and shareholder
>> value at
>> stake. It's not just about designers and our good ideas. The
>> point about
>> hill-climbing with data-driven incremental changes is well taken, but
>> honestly, don't you think that It Would Be Bad to accidentally
>> send Google
>> Web Search into a design valley while you blundered about looking
>> for a
>> higher hill?
>>
>> * I never had the chance to meet Doug Bowman while he was at
>> Google, though
>> I regret not having had a chance to work with him. I have no
>> reason to
>> think of him with anything but deep respect, and I wish him well.
>>
>> - Jenifer
>>
>> On Sat, Mar 21, 2009 at 2:38 PM, David Malouf <dave at ixda.org> wrote:
>>
>>> Jarod, I don't like it. I find it to be ..
>>> 1) reminiscent of MS
>>> 2) too brash and distracting
>>>
>>> More importantly it has in no way shape or form improved my
>>> relationship with Google (or diminished it).
>>>
>>> I think people have missed my point.
>>> I think design is not for or against data, but design should always
>>> be for imbuing human expressionism beyond the measurable. A designer
>>> of worth, merit, etc. should always be encouraged to express
>>> themselves in any way that does not break Raskin's 1st law of
>>> interaction design (don't fuck w/ the content, purpose or utility of
>>> what you are designing [paraphrasing]).
>>>
>>> When I look at a site like google, I see a souless design. Now, I
>>> use
>>> google over Yahoo & Adobe for most things but that has nothing to do
>>> with aesthetics. But Google would never take a risk like adding a
>>> "Liam" (mail spelled backwards) character to their software. They
>>> would never use the iconographic vivid imagery of a Buzzword
>>> interface (Adobe). Because of this, these applications at least
>>> attempt to have soul--connectedness to human expression to the world
>>> around them.
>>>
>>> I think people need to stop lauding Google as a design success
>>> story.
>>> I think it hurts us b/c it is clear that it is an engineering
>>> success
>>> story. Does that mean that engineering is better than design. I
>>> think
>>> looking at Apple, answers that question. It doesn't. There are SOOOO
>>> many ingredients that go into success and we would be fooling
>>> ourselve as designers or engineers to think that any one of us
>>> controls all of them.
>>>
>>> BTW, the one place funny enough that Google DOES allow for a
>>> taste of
>>> humanity is on their most precious search home page (Google.com).
>>> Their use of holiday and historic event treatments is beautiful!!!
>>>
>>> However, I can count on 1 hand how many times I go to Google.com
>>> (home page) any more. Its in the chrome of my browser or in my
>>> browser's home page, etc.
>>>
>>> Soul!!! Time to swing the pedullum back from the austere periods
>>> towards the more expressionist. I think we can do that and still
>>> maintain simplicity, clarity, usability, findability, and overall
>>> effectiveness. In fact, I'd like to challenge us to do it!
>>>
>>> -- dave
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
>>> Posted from the new ixda.org
>>> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40237
>>>
>>>
>>> ________________________________________________________________
>>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>>> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>>> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
>>> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>>>
>>
>>
>>
>> --
>> ---------------------------------------
>> Jenifer Tidwell
>> jenifer.tidwell at gmail.com
>> http://designinginterfaces.com
>> http://jtidwell.net
>>
>
>
>
> --
> Dave Malouf
> http://davemalouf.com/
> http://twitter.com/daveixd
> http://scad.edu/industrialdesign
> http://ixda.org/
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

22 Mar 2009 - 10:51am
msweeny
2006

Good Morning All,

And many thanks for this thoughtful response Jennifer. As with many, I've
worked for a large conglomerate with a powerful legal department and
appreciate non-disclosures. I am fascinated by your comment below
"Rhetorical question: how much design risk SHOULD such a company take with a
product that still works so well?" as it seems so counter-intuitive from a
company whose success in search came from doing that very thing in the late
1990's. At that point, folks thought that Northern Lights and Copernicus
worked well from design and function perspectives; that is, until Google
came along with its radicalized interaction approach.

In my view, the sophistication of search functionality today is not
complimented by an equivalent sophistication in interaction design. This is
something that I have been circling professionally for some time and hope to
have something worthwhile to contribute someday.

Side note, do you think that your presentation from the Interaction Design
09 conference might be available some day. My notes are best described as
hieroglyphics and border on incomprehensible.

marianne
msweeny at speakeasy.net

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Jenifer
Tidwell
Sent: Sunday, March 22, 2009 7:10 AM
To: David Malouf
Cc: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Bowman leaves Google

I am a UX designer for Google.

I wish I could dig deep into this discussion with you all, because it's very
relevant to some of the work going on there. Sadly, there are many things
about my employer that I'm not at liberty to talk about -- I'm sure many of
you can understand that. I'll make a few points, and then make a graceful
exit to my usual lurking state. :-)

* Different product teams at Google have very different approaches to
design, data, research, and "soul" in design. Some product designs I've
seen there are truly amazing and beautiful, and some designers do indeed
take risks. The cultural fit between a UX designer and a product team
depends very much on where in the organization they are. I'm confident that
that's true in most large technology companies.

* The main search properties, especially Google's main page and search
results page, are managed extremely carefully. I've seen some of the A/B
experiments run on those pages, and while I can't share much, I will say
that the results are fascinating -- you would be amazed at the usage
variations that arise from tiny design changes. And no, those variations
are not always predictable from first principles. This convinces me that we
collectively have a lot yet to learn about design.

* Yes, Google is successful at search. Very. Rhetorical question: how much
design risk SHOULD such a company take with a product that still works so
well? In that context, I think we designers would actually be irresponsible
to not test our designs with good experiments -- countless people depend on
Google's main properties, and there are lots of ad dollars (much of which go
to actual advertisers, not us) and shareholder value at stake. It's not
just about designers and our good ideas. The point about hill-climbing with
data-driven incremental changes is well taken, but honestly, don't you think
that It Would Be Bad to accidentally send Google Web Search into a design
valley while you blundered about looking for a higher hill?

* I never had the chance to meet Doug Bowman while he was at Google, though
I regret not having had a chance to work with him. I have no reason to
think of him with anything but deep respect, and I wish him well.

- Jenifer

On Sat, Mar 21, 2009 at 2:38 PM, David Malouf <dave at ixda.org> wrote:

> Jarod, I don't like it. I find it to be ..
> 1) reminiscent of MS
> 2) too brash and distracting
>
> More importantly it has in no way shape or form improved my
> relationship with Google (or diminished it).
>
> I think people have missed my point.
> I think design is not for or against data, but design should always be
> for imbuing human expressionism beyond the measurable. A designer of
> worth, merit, etc. should always be encouraged to express themselves
> in any way that does not break Raskin's 1st law of interaction design
> (don't fuck w/ the content, purpose or utility of what you are
> designing [paraphrasing]).
>
> When I look at a site like google, I see a souless design. Now, I use
> google over Yahoo & Adobe for most things but that has nothing to do
> with aesthetics. But Google would never take a risk like adding a
> "Liam" (mail spelled backwards) character to their software. They
> would never use the iconographic vivid imagery of a Buzzword interface
> (Adobe). Because of this, these applications at least attempt to have
> soul--connectedness to human expression to the world around them.
>
> I think people need to stop lauding Google as a design success story.
> I think it hurts us b/c it is clear that it is an engineering success
> story. Does that mean that engineering is better than design. I think
> looking at Apple, answers that question. It doesn't. There are SOOOO
> many ingredients that go into success and we would be fooling ourselve
> as designers or engineers to think that any one of us controls all of
> them.
>
> BTW, the one place funny enough that Google DOES allow for a taste of
> humanity is on their most precious search home page (Google.com).
> Their use of holiday and historic event treatments is beautiful!!!
>
> However, I can count on 1 hand how many times I go to Google.com (home
> page) any more. Its in the chrome of my browser or in my browser's
> home page, etc.
>
> Soul!!! Time to swing the pedullum back from the austere periods
> towards the more expressionist. I think we can do that and still
> maintain simplicity, clarity, usability, findability, and overall
> effectiveness. In fact, I'd like to challenge us to do it!
>
> -- dave
>
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40237
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org Unsubscribe
> ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe List Guidelines
> ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines List Help
> .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
---------------------------------------
Jenifer Tidwell
jenifer.tidwell at gmail.com
http://designinginterfaces.com
http://jtidwell.net
________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org Unsubscribe ................
http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe List Guidelines ............
http://www.ixda.org/guidelines List Help ..................
http://www.ixda.org/help

22 Mar 2009 - 11:32am
Dave Cortright
2005

On Sun, Mar 22, 2009 at 7:10 AM, Jenifer Tidwell
<jenifer.tidwell at gmail.com>wrote:

> I am a UX designer for Google.
>
> ...
>
> * Different product teams at Google have very different approaches to
> design, data, research, and "soul" in design. Some product designs I've
> seen there are truly amazing and beautiful, and some designers do indeed
> take risks. The cultural fit between a UX designer and a product team
> depends very much on where in the organization they are. I'm confident
> that
> that's true in most large technology companies.
>
>
Can you be more specific here, or are you talking about designs that have
not shipped publicly? If the latter, will they ever ship? And if not, that's
quite interesting and worth exploring.

FWIW, I had job offers from Google and Yahoo at the beginning of 2005. I
chose Yahoo because I thought that Yahoo had a better design organization
which was more integral to the product development process. Douglas Bowman's
post does a lot to confirm my suspicions. Plus I know a designer a Google
who recently moved over to product management in order to have more
influence into the product design. To me, that's sad.

Irene Au built up a successful and effective design organization at Yahoo,
and who knows? Maybe she can do it again at Google. But I believe that the
core values of any organization are a really strong undercurrent and tough
to overcome. Google's engineering-driven culture is a lot different than
Yahoo's product-driven culture.

One more point worth making. Google got it right when they emphasized
performance as a key part of the user experience. I only wish more companies
would follow suit.

22 Mar 2009 - 12:54pm
Dave Malouf
2005

This piece by Tom Chi, strikes the balance that I wish I could have
articulated myself.

I hope the OK-Cancel guys keep up being active. I miss them
terribly!!!

Here's the link: http://www.ok-cancel.com/comic/177.html

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40237

22 Mar 2009 - 3:25pm
Larry Tesler
2004

Jenifer,

Thank you for providing your insider-informed and well-reasoned
perspective.

I'd like to respond to this remark you made about my earlier post:

On Mar 22, 2009, at 7:10 AM, Jenifer Tidwell wrote:
> The point about hill-climbing with
> data-driven incremental changes is well taken, but honestly, don't
> you think
> that It Would Be Bad to accidentally send Google Web Search into a
> design
> valley while you blundered about looking for a higher hill?

By my comments (reproduced below), I didn't mean that a company should
leap blindly off their current hill in hopes of landing on a higher
one. My point was that "over-reliance" on data-driven incremental
changes would be ill-advised, as would choices made "solely on the
basis of performance data".

I advocated "a smart combination of analytical thinking and design
thinking" to better climb the current hill and also search for taller
mountains.

The post by my former colleague Tom Chi that dave malouf cited makes
that same point and more. It's at http://www.ok-cancel.com/comic/177.html
.

Also, like several others who have commented on this topic, I was not
referring specifically to Google, but rather to the practice of web
design wherever it takes place.

Larry Tesler

On Sat, Mar 21, 2009 at 5:59 PM, Larry Tesler wrote:
>
> Yes, over-reliance on data-driven incremental design (DDID) is ill-
> advised.
>
> - Customers who use more than one of a company's products tend to be
> the most valuable customers in the long run. DDID usually optimizes
> one product at a time. The resulting inconsistencies may make each
> product a bit more profitable but can make it less likely for a
> heavy user of one to become a casual user of another.
>
> - DDID is an effective way to climb a little higher on a profit
> hill. It will never get you off the current hill onto a taller
> mountain.
>
> - Changing shades of blue and line widths can nudge a product higher
> on its current hill. But an organization that makes choices based
> solely on the basis of performance data won't learn why a certain
> shade or width works better, and is unlikely to apply the lesson to
> the next project. Revenue is foregone, costs mount and precious
> resources are tied up while each new product is gradually optimized.
>
> But many managers love DDID. It a systematic, replicable, and
> inherently measurable. Delight in the experience and passion for the
> product line are much harder to measure. The non-mathematical way
> that designers go about evoking such emotions isn't something that
> the staffing and training departments can reliably replicate.
>
> These days, great success usually emerges from a smart combination
> of analytical thinking and design thinking, a combination that
> requires mutual respect and cooperation as equals among the various
> practitioners.

22 Mar 2009 - 4:13pm
Moe Tilley
2009

hmm..no good reason sounds probably right.

I wouldn't feel loved if I spent a lot of time reinventing the
button.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40237

23 Mar 2009 - 4:35pm
Todd Warfel
2003

How is Google not a design success story? Design goes much deeper than
the interface.

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
Principal Design Researcher
Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
----------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (215) 825-7423
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
Twitter: zakiwarfel
----------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

23 Mar 2009 - 5:41pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Not all forms of production are DESIGN. Engineering is not the same as
design.
Many companies are examples of engineering success.

that doesn't make it NOT a success. It just means its not an example of
design success.

This isn't intrinsically a bad thing.
For some the differentiation itself may be meaningless. But for others it is
very meaningful.
It is meaningful on a few levels:
1) For those of us invested in design, it tells us we have things we need to
learn to do better.
2) It also highlights possible opportunities for improvement b/c unlike what
was implied in Jennifer's question I believe there is always space to
improve. It is called taking your advantage and expanding on it, to protect
it from encroachment. This means, that if we take a new lens to the problem
space maybe we can develop further improvements that further extend the lead
in the market place.

-- dave

On Mon, Mar 23, 2009 at 5:35 PM, Todd Zaki Warfel <lists at toddwarfel.com>wrote:

> How is Google not a design success story? Design goes much deeper than the
> interface.
>
> Cheers!
>
> Todd Zaki Warfel
> Principal Design Researcher
> Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
> ----------------------------------
> *Contact Info*
> Voice: (215) 825-7423Email: todd at messagefirst.com
> AIM: twarfel at mac.com
> Blog: http://toddwarfel.com <http://toddwarfel/>
> Twitter: zakiwarfel
> ----------------------------------
> In theory, theory and practice are the same.
> In practice, they are not.
>
>
>
>
>

--
Dave Malouf
http://davemalouf.com/
http://twitter.com/daveixd
http://scad.edu/industrialdesign
http://ixda.org/

23 Mar 2009 - 9:28pm
Jenifer Tidwell
2003

Hi Dave,

Yes, of course there is always space to improve a product. I didn't intend
to imply otherwise! Even the Google search results have been changed
recently (e.g. you can now promote, remove, or comment upon result items).

My point was more that one has to take a lot of care with a product like
that, because it IS so successful. And that pretty much means being
data-driven.

So, Dave, if you were the designer for Google search results, how would you
go about making a major design change? Consider all the obvious
stakeholders (zillions of users, advertisers, and sites, all balanced in a
thriving ecosystem), the design constraints (brand, speed, correctness,
etc.), the fate of the world economy... :-) Operationally, what would you
do before rolling it out? How would you show that your design isn't
disruptive to that ecosystem?

(And also, wouldn't you take engineering constraints and possibilities into
consideration? If you're looking at the product holistically, you can't
really separate that from "pure design.")

- Jenifer

On Mon, Mar 23, 2009 at 6:41 PM, Dave Malouf <dave at ixda.org> wrote:

> Not all forms of production are DESIGN. Engineering is not the same as
> design.
> Many companies are examples of engineering success.
>
> that doesn't make it NOT a success. It just means its not an example of
> design success.
>
> This isn't intrinsically a bad thing.
> For some the differentiation itself may be meaningless. But for others it
> is
> very meaningful.
> It is meaningful on a few levels:
> 1) For those of us invested in design, it tells us we have things we need
> to
> learn to do better.
> 2) It also highlights possible opportunities for improvement b/c unlike
> what
> was implied in Jennifer's question I believe there is always space to
> improve. It is called taking your advantage and expanding on it, to protect
> it from encroachment. This means, that if we take a new lens to the problem
> space maybe we can develop further improvements that further extend the
> lead
> in the market place.
>
> -- dave
>
>
>
>
>
>
> On Mon, Mar 23, 2009 at 5:35 PM, Todd Zaki Warfel <lists at toddwarfel.com
> >wrote:
>
> > How is Google not a design success story? Design goes much deeper than
> the
> > interface.
> >
> > Cheers!
> >
> > Todd Zaki Warfel
> > Principal Design Researcher
> > Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
> > ----------------------------------
> > *Contact Info*
> > Voice: (215) 825-7423Email: todd at messagefirst.com
> > AIM: twarfel at mac.com
> > Blog: http://toddwarfel.com <http://toddwarfel/>
> > Twitter: zakiwarfel
> > ----------------------------------
> > In theory, theory and practice are the same.
> > In practice, they are not.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
>
>
> --
> Dave Malouf
> http://davemalouf.com/
> http://twitter.com/daveixd
> http://scad.edu/industrialdesign
> http://ixda.org/
> ________________________________________________________________
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--
---------------------------------------
Jenifer Tidwell
jenifer.tidwell at gmail.com
http://designinginterfaces.com
http://jtidwell.net

23 Mar 2009 - 9:48pm
Jarod Tang
2007

Hi Dave,

On Tue, Mar 24, 2009 at 6:41 AM, Dave Malouf <dave at ixda.org> wrote:

> Not all forms of production are DESIGN. Engineering is not the same as
> design.
> Many companies are examples of engineering success.
>

Maybe more proper says as some designs in the process of engineering?
Traditionally, the Designs ( interface, interaction ... ) are mixed with
the development process, and it seems not a observable fact that the
engineering is doing without design thinking, just because we have a
individual (interaction) design process?
And even go further, D & E are both designs, but in different forms as
Herbert Simon said in his Science of artificial? If so, our way is not try
to make it distinguishable from practitioner's perspective, instead on the
problem level, which may help the communication between D & E ?

Cheers,
-- Jarod
--
http://designforuse.blogspot.com/

23 Mar 2009 - 4:35pm
Kevin Fox
2005

Larry, I agree with the dangers of hill-climbing to the exclusion of finding
new hills, but I don't believe this is the case at Google.

Data-driven design is used when performing incremental design changes, and
is more like QA or Usability testing. Neither preclude the utilization of
blue-sky or revolutionary design, but all are important in optimizing
design.

Even Doug's examples of 41 blues and 3, 4, or 5 pixel borders aren't cases
where data is inhibiting the crossing of a design valley, unless you
consider a hue or a pixel width to be revolutionary.

For another former Google designer's take on Doug's departure, and Google UX
in general, I submit the post I wrote this morning:
http://fury.com/2009/03/google-design-the-kids-are-alright/

Thanks,
Kevin Fox

24 Mar 2009 - 1:46am
Larry Tesler
2004

Kevin,

Your post is both balanced and wise.

I, on the other hand, am having trouble communicating my position on
this issue.

Shades of blue and widths of borders could well be inhibiting the
crossing of a valley if undue time and resources are devoted to such
0.1% improvements to the exclusion of 10% leaps.

Larry

On Mar 23, 2009, at 2:35 PM, Kevin Fox wrote:

> Larry, I agree with the dangers of hill-climbing to the exclusion of
> finding
> new hills, but I don't believe this is the case at Google.
>
> Data-driven design is used when performing incremental design
> changes, and
> is more like QA or Usability testing. Neither preclude the
> utilization of
> blue-sky or revolutionary design, but all are important in optimizing
> design.
>
> Even Doug's examples of 41 blues and 3, 4, or 5 pixel borders aren't
> cases
> where data is inhibiting the crossing of a design valley, unless you
> consider a hue or a pixel width to be revolutionary.
>
> For another former Google designer's take on Doug's departure, and
> Google UX
> in general, I submit the post I wrote this morning:
> http://fury.com/2009/03/google-design-the-kids-are-alright/
>
> Thanks,
> Kevin Fox

24 Mar 2009 - 1:56am
Kevin Fox
2005

Ah. This I understand. Your point is well taken.

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