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Google designer resigns because of lack of excitement
Goodbye Google
nealrodriguez




msg:3876668
 12:22 am on Mar 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

Goodbye Google [stopdesign.com]

Yes, itís true that a team at Google couldnít decide between two blues, so theyíre 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. I canít operate in an environment like that. Iíve grown tired of debating such minuscule design decisions. There are more exciting design problems in this world to tackle.

Douglas Bowman's main gripe is that google bases all its design decisions based on data; Bowman would hate to work with me being a proponent of split testing to find the best way to position elements to get the highest proportion of visitors to do what i want them to do.

i doubt bowman will have an issue getting companies to let him mastermind their aesthetically puritan designs; but i think the best results are obtained when you split and multi-variate test designs until you find the one that influences most people to do what you want.

does google test and want to work towards finding design for optimal business performance to an intolerable extreme? when do you compromise what is most probably the best way to structure a page based on hard data for a 'daring' radical version based on 'going with your gut?'

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.

i guess we agree to disagree? however, his statement makes me think that google may trust the decision making prowess of engineers over other departments. if so, i think they may want to also explore radical designs until they prove to produce sub-optimal results. otherwise, how do they know if a 'daring design' can influence the most people to sign up for a gmail account, for instance? it appears that google restricts its decisions to use a particular design to those proven to work based on a subjective or limited data set; in this case, maybe just those data sets produced by the engineering department. if g wants to truly tap into the wisdom of crowds, they may want to consider designs proposed by various if not all departments.

thoughts?

 

coopster




msg:3876882
 12:13 pm on Mar 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

his statement makes me think that google may trust the decision making prowess of engineers over other departments.

I don't follow. Basing your decision on data analysis versus an engineer or engineering department's prowess seem to be two very different litmus tests (reference to shades of blue in litmus test punnily intended).

g1smd




msg:3876883
 12:16 pm on Mar 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

I saw this last week, and thought "just how far do you go with this"?

I mean, 41 shades of blue? Seems crazy to me.

Is it? Or do those things really matter all that much?

esllou




msg:3876897
 1:02 pm on Mar 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

If you toss a coin 41,041 times, one of heads or tails would win.

Doesn't mean the coin tosser "prefers" whichever one wins.

Tastatura




msg:3876939
 2:14 pm on Mar 23, 2009 (gmt 0)


If you toss a coin 41,041 times, one of heads or tails would win.

Doesn't mean the coin tosser "prefers" whichever one wins.

:)) True, but in above case premise is faulty. That's why there is whole big field of "design of experiments"

esllou




msg:3877048
 5:24 pm on Mar 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

yeah, I was being facetious. I just think looking at a list of 41 results in such a multi-variate test, there'd be a whole list of stats like 2.34%, 2.45%, 2.29%, 2.62% and they're going to conclude what from that? That the Morning Dew Blue got people all excited and jumping out of bed whereas the Electric Cool Blue shocked people into inactivity?

I would agree with Bowman that this level of split testing may not be very useful and actually give you worthless results.

nealrodriguez




msg:3877097
 6:37 pm on Mar 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

Basing your decision on data analysis versus an engineer or engineering department's prowess seem to be two very different litmus tests

well it appears that the data is either produced or interpreted by the engineering department. the data would have to be historical and thus rule out any radical or 'daring,' as bowman puts it, design that could possibly outperform any schema that worked in the past. it may be that google is solely re-purposing design elements that have worked, but fail to explore the possibility of using a radical design that has never been tested. radical redesign is key to finding optimal page structure;

coopster




msg:3878056
 11:14 pm on Mar 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

well it appears that the data is either produced or interpreted by the engineering department.

OK, now I follow. I guess I assumed that the data was openly available and tracked by the entire project team. And I agree, what a huge mistake if the team did not plan projections prior to launch and review. Projections are the "scary" part, for management teams (and calculating engineers). However, the unknown can also be the most rewarding when planned, developed and implemented. Part of the planning is risk-analysis. Should we assume this is not happening behind closed doors at the complex? I would love to have a personal discussion with Bowman to discover the process(es) involved in project management (from his perspective). But then again, wouldn't we all ...

nealrodriguez




msg:3878530
 3:53 pm on Mar 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

a book i am reading for the 2nd time - the wisdom of crowds - argues on how a group constituting people with diverse skills and backgrounds is essential in making the best decisions. the premise is that the collective intelligence of a group is of a higher caliber than any one person - even if the one person is the smartest person in the group.

if google is strictly delegating decision-making authority to the engineering department, they leave the decisions to a subjective few - people with similar ideas that make similar mistakes. however, if bowman's rant is true, google would be able to make better judgments allowing the designing department to weigh in on their decisions.

moreover, according to 'crowds,' you may even stretch to say that the administrative, janitorial departments, and other departments, which may be deemed irrelevant, should also be included in the design decision process. the more diverse a group the smarter it is because you will get opinions from many perspectives that cancel or suppress the consequence of mistakes a subset with similar skills and backgrounds can make.

jdMorgan




msg:3878537
 4:08 pm on Mar 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

My favorite office-wall-poster from a previous career was:


In the life of every project, there comes a time
to shoot the engineer and go into production.


This was hanging on the wall in a draftsman's office, and I thought it was both very funny and true, despite the fact that it was aimed squarely at me and my kind...

I can see Bowman's point: Had the Mona Lisa been painted by committee it would have never been finished, nor would it have so fascinated over two dozen generations of viewers.

Jim

Shaddows




msg:3878622
 5:39 pm on Mar 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

Had the Mona Lisa been painted by committee...

Ah, but would it have been more captivating if Leonardo used a different shade of blue?

nealrodriguez




msg:3911276
 8:05 pm on May 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Ah, but would it have been more captivating if Leonardo used a different shade of blue?

maybe in the eyes; with blond hair not black. and less robe more south beach.

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