Friday, May 19, 2006

Does Google Succeed Despite Bad Design?

Bokardo on google...

"Now that Google’s role is changing from scrappy underdog to serious contender in challenging Microsoft’s hegemony, the views of critics and observers are changing too, from an optimistic bright white to a downtrodden dull gray. Two world-class designers, Don Norman and Derek Powazek, have recently been very critical of the search giant’s design, suggesting that Google doesn’t know what they’re doing. Are they right? I don’t think so.

Four years ago Google was at the height of its acclaim. They could do no wrong. Much was made of their new, simplified approach to search, evidence for which was echoed in their minimalistic homepage that featured little more than an input box and a submit button. And they held to that simplicity with amazing discipline, even to the point that their users noticed. Marissa Mayer explains in a 2002 interview with Mark Hurst:

“There’s this one user, a Google zealot - we don’t know who he is - who occasionally sends an e-mail to our “comments” address. Every time he writes, the e-mail contains only a two-digit number. It took us awhile to figure out what he was doing. Turns out he’s counting the number of words on the home page. When the number goes up, like up to 52, it gets him irritated, and he e-mails us the new word count. As crazy as it sounds, his e-mails are helpful, because it has put an interesting discipline on the UI team, so as not to introduce too many links. It’s like a scale that tells you that you’ve gained two pounds.” (Emphasis added)

Fast forward to 2006, four years later, and even though Google sports nearly the exact same interface they did then, opinions about it have changed dramatically."   continued ...   (Via Bokardo)


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