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VP Design, Google Joined over 6 years ago
On behalf of the team, thanks!
The name ... well initially we called it Google Sans, because it was supposed to be paired with the new "Google"wordmark. That got pretty confusing quickly though, because the new Google was not set in "Google Sans". Product Sans makes the typeface's function and relation to the new logo boringly and pedantically clear. :-)
Form and Pixate address the same needs - interactive motion prototyping - but do so in very nicely complementary ways. - Pixate is great if you want an editor that's similar to your graphic design tools. - Form is great if you're comfortable doing visual programing and want access to your device's sensors or want to integrate with live data.
This article gives a high level summary: http://www.google.com/design/articles/introducing-pixate-and-form-1-3/
This is also a useful comparison: http://cptv8.com/post/121276126300/5-app-prototyping-tools-compared-form-framer
There's no rest in sight for the Pixate!
We have lots of exciting things we want to do in this space and with these products, check out our roundtable discussion to get a peek inside our heads as we talk about the future of design tools : http://www.google.com/design/articles/tooling-up/
Oh, and let us know what else you need!
Design. Design. Design.
Seriously, this is a craft that you get better at by doing. Anything you can do to stretch those design muscles the better. Do a conceptual redesign of something you think could be better. Work on a small project with friends. Never stop designing.
Personally right now I’m noodling around a “digitally assisted” board game (terrible name I know). I’m trying to see how to make something that’s fun to play face to face where the board and pieces have value and meaning beyond looking pretty and being in a common space, but where phones and tablets let you do things you couldn’t do in cardboard.
It has nothing to do with my day job, but it’s nice to have a project that you can stay completely hands on with.
I actually studied quite a bit of art history in school, so it's easier to say what I'm not inspired by.
I guess personally I'm most comfortable working in the abstract expressionist school. Gorky and Matta are the painters my work is most similar too. Though my figurative influences are heavily pop cultural ... maybe cross the above two with Takashi Murakami and Audrey Kawasaki?
Amusingly, I discovered I had a strong affinity and love for Matta's work before I knew he was also Chilean!
I think the solution of notifications as a stack of cards is surprisingly elegant. It has the attributes of a drawer with scrolling content in it, without the heavy handedness of a drawer which cover the screen - just the cards and how they stack at both ends.
It seems like a simple problem, but if you really sit down and study it you'll see it's quite tricky!
Much like the Material Design effort itself involved basically every design team inside Google, we approached research - both the formative, and validation - as something that we needed to do together and that we couldn’t centralize.
There were lots of specific studies that we ran from the core team - mostly to validate the usability of certain controls or conventions - like the toggles and the FAB, and with a strong focus on accessibility.
We also leveraged every study from every team implementing Material - piggybacking additional questions where it seemed appropriate - to validate the use of Material in context.
We also run a large amount of foundational research to help us understand device use, and for the last few years that effort has been international with a particular focus on developing countries. That’s not to say developing an international design system is not daunting. We actually had some goofs in the original spec for dialogs that didn’t provide enough cues for what’s actionable in certain locales - that’s why in addition to usability we also worked with i18n experts and specialists from different markets.
I have a mantra I follow when tackling design projects, which is focus on the problem. Too many times I’ve fallen in love with an idea and wasted a bunch of time. However if you focus on something that’s a problem - something that causes pain or frustration or is an unmet need - you know you’re not just building a fantasy.
I like to have all projects be summarized in one page: What’s the problem? A real tangible problem we’re solving - not how, just what. What’s the opportunity? How will the world be better if the problem was solved. Again, not how will the problem be solved, but what’s the end result? How can you tell without seeing someone use your product that after the fact you actually solved their problem. What’s the plan? Not a solution. A plan, a first draft, a germ of an idea that you’re willing to throw out when it turns out not to actually solve the problem.
At the start of every crit, it’s nice to have this one pager, and a summary of our user research posted on the wall next to the designs. Those two things serve to keep us honest about our work.
For starters we were really lucky in having two key ingredients: A bunch of awesome designers. Like probably many of you, before joining Google I had assumed that the company simply hadn’t hired good talent. That was absolutely not the case, Google had a strong cadre of exceptional and talented designer leaders - folks like Jon Wiley, Jason Cornwell, Hector Ouilhet, Margaret Lee. Google just didn’t know how to empower them. Leadership that was visionary enough to know that it wanted to improve in design, but humble enough to know that the company needed to do something different. Consistently since becoming CEO Larry set out the challenge to Google to find new ways to work, because it needed to become better at design.
With those two ingredients, the job for all of us together was to find allies who were excited and open minded about working in a different way, and then simply do great work with them. At first our wins were small, but over time they gathered momentum.
The freaking lack of consensus on universal iconography (see other post) is my pet peeve!
Well at least for today. :-)
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