Google's Design.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on March 13, 2006

It’s difficult to find anyone willing to criticize Google’s very welcoming user interface but Don Norman, one of the most brilliant design thinkers around, takes a pretty good whack at it on his blog. It isn’t recent but it is cogent. Take a look and let me know what you think.

And check out the Design Observer as well on Google’s logo. It mutates and that’s a good thing. Yes?

Reader Comments

Douglass Turner

March 13, 2006 9:45 PM

Bruce,
Dude, where have you been? Google video has been roundly panned for it's "we'll fix it in version 2.0" embarrasment of a UI. Google is an algorithmic focused company. As the richness of it's media increases, they will have to focus more closely on user experience. They have a ways to go.

-Doug

Jack Yan

March 14, 2006 1:21 PM

I subscribe to the notion that a logo must represent a brand. If Google is the “do no evil” company, with a quirky corporate philosophy, then by all means its logo should mutate. Its home page should be simple to fly in the face of all those complex ones. However, if the vision is about making money, about kowtowing to Red China, about having dull meetings to satiate traditional Wall Street types, then it should play by the rules. Leave the mutating logos to companies which have the culture and presence of fun to carry them out.

csven

March 14, 2006 2:46 PM

There is definitely a growing disparity between their mutating logo's youthful, anti-establishment inference and the message we've been reading in the news of late. You know the saying. "Power corrupts..."

Perhaps Google is following in MTV's footsteps. Ack.

Kristin Johnson

March 15, 2006 8:11 AM

Thanks for linking to Don's article, which prompted me to click on the more>> button for the first time in over 5 years of using Google. Somehow I've managed to use Maps, G-Mail, and set up Alerts without ever going to this page!

Google's very complex search system beautifully compliments it's simple appearance, and accomodates a wide range of users. For new internet users (like my mom), it is a simple portal unto the world wide web without the confusing distractions of other search engines. For the google-savvy, they know it is not necessary to click twice to get to the map page, but simply typing an address in the basic search bar brings up the map option. (Maybe someone should tell Don!)

Depending on whether you are looking at it, using it, or writing the code, "simple" may not aptly describe Google. Focus may be a more appropriate word behind Google's success.

It is nice to see an alternate viewpoint on Google, but it still trumps other major search engines.

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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