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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.
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).
I would agree with Bowman that this level of split testing may not be very useful and actually give you worthless results.
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;
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 ...
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.
In the life of every project, there comes a time
to shoot the engineer and go into production.
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.