Sunday, September 24, 2006

Google wants to pay you to improve Google usability

How Google arrived at it's UI design ...

"The Science and Art of User Experience at Google" was the topic of a presentation at Google's Kirkland, Washington, operations last June by Jen Fitzpatrick, Google Engineering Director.

She began by recounting the origins of Google’s “rather empty home page.”

Fitzpatrick noted the “utter simplicity of our homepage” has changed remarkedly little from its beginnings in 1999 when Sergey Brin had the task of building a homepage for the new service he and Larry Page were building out. According to Fitzpatrick, Brin at the time did not know html and was not interested in learning it. What Brin was really passionate about, according to Fitzpatrick, was building a search engine; Putting together a home page was simply a way to get the service up and running as quickly as possible. Fitzpatrick indicated that in some respects the Google home page of today is a “happy byproduct of laziness on his part.” After all, she noted, why bother learning html to create some fancy polished homepage when all it needed to do was get people going on the way to searching for the information they were looking for.

Google conducted its first “official” usability testing in 2000 when, according to Fitzpatrick, the Google team embarked “in typical Google fashion” on a “cheap and scrappy” effort to recruit Stanford computer science students for an hour long focus group with the lure of tee shirts and twenty dollar bills.

Seven years later, Google is formally calling for paid participants in “User Experience Research” studies and hiring User Experience Researchers."    (Continued via ZDNet)    [Usability Resources]

Google Collecting Data - Usability, User Interface Design

Google Collecting Data

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