One of my favorite panels at SXSW 2012 was getting to hear from the lead designers of six of Google’s core products: Gmail, Google+, Google Search, Google Maps, Google Docs, and Youtube. It was cool to hear some of their unique challenges but my main takeaway was a reminder that we all face similar challenges regardless of how large or small our clients or brands may be.
The main part of their story started in the Spring of 2011 when one of the designers – unfortunately I forget which one - received an instant message from Larry Page that simply stated, “If you could redesign Google, what would you do.” He referred to this as the moment that “the dog caught the car”. As designers, it was the dream they had been waiting for but after a brief state of shock they needed a plan to seize the opportunity.
Good design is:
- Is innovative – The possibilities for innovation are not, by any means, exhausted. Technological development is always offering new opportunities for innovative design. But innovative design always develops in tandem with innovative technology, and can never be an end in itself.
- Makes a product useful – A product is bought to be used. It has to satisfy certain criteria, not only functional, but also psychological and aesthetic. Good design emphasizes the usefulness of a product whilst disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.