Tuesday, December 18, 2007

People-Driven Design

Google's social network design ...

"Google recently launched some social functionality over the weekend. Chris Brogan has this to say about it:

"Google slipped a social network into Reader last night while I was sleeping. It’s simple, and unobtrusive, and gently prompts me to add more info, if I want. It’s about sharing your news- for now. But there it is. There’s Google’s simple, easy, I’m -destined-to-use-it social network right there.

Facebook, I hear bells tolling."

Has Google really launched a "people-driven" experience? Most of us would agree that the best experiences are designed with people in mind. But the fact is that it's still really easy to forget about the end user or person that you are ultimately trying to serve. Here's a few ways we can go wrong even with the best of intentions.

1. Usability Driven
Many of the popular 2.0 Web services have usability issues. Jacob Nielsen asserts that the space is in danger if becoming "glossy, but useless". But there are a few facts we need to come to terms with here. Applications such as Facebook, YouTube and others all have usability issues, but are highly desirable to the people who use them. Putting usability first, in theory will create a superior experience—but in reality it's only one factor of the total experience. You can have the most usable tool on the planet which seldom gets used if no-one wants to pick it up, play with it and talk about it to others.

2. Creative Driven
"Creative people" have a weakness. Sometimes we care to much about what our peers think and so if we see the industry awarding bright and shiny stuff that looks great but serves no real purpose, we'll be tempted to produce bright and shiny stuff that serves no real purpose--except maybe to win an award."    (Continued via Logic+Emotion)    [Usability Resources]

Google's Social Network - Usability, User Interface Design

Google's Social Network

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