When I started MCD I wanted to focus primarily on research papers. But I do have another dubious category for 'design resources'. So perhaps I'll do the occasional opinion on design methods or techniques. Maybe it'll even provoke a bit more discussion. (If you haven't already, join Tribe and check out the MCD tribe
Wired has published a bit of eye-candy on how four 'designers' would 'redesign' the google interface
. Actually, they say 'redo' which may in fact be more accurate.
I had an interesting discussion recently with the leader of a development project I was taking part in. We were discussing what 'design' meant. I pointed out that in a larger team you may have seperate roles for:
1) usability/HCI person
2) graphic designer
3) GUI programmer
All of them are doing 'design'. But they do very different things. The first person worries about usability testing, task analysis, scenario development, ensuring things are comprehensible to the user, etc. The second person worries about corporate image, aesthetics, consistent style, logos, etc. The third knows about code to make GUIs and may have a good idea of how widgets should be laid out. All of these people pull in slightly different directions and at times conflict. You could easily add a few more people into the mix such as ethnographers, software engineers, marketing people, IAs, domain experts, etc. There is some overlap in roles and expertise as would be expected. All of the roles are valued, but they need to balance each other out.
Perhaps I'm taking this google article a bit too seriously - but does anyone still believe that a graphic designer or an artist is really a good person to redesign one of the most heavily used interfaces in the world, by themselves? Furthermore, this isn't some interface that people toy with at an art gallery for amusement's sake - this is an interface that actually needs to perform a task for people. That task needs to get done quickly, efficiently, unconfusingly and predictably. In short - it needs to be usable.
Take a look at these proposed interfaces
My analysis in order:
Unnecessary (or at least secondary) location information placed prominently.
Totally random information confusing you.
Graphics heavy pages more worried about brand than satisfying you quickly.
Magic google buttons with NO INTERFACE DEVICE. Need I say more?
How does all this relate to mobile devices and communities? Good question. Have a multidisciplinary team designing a mobile device and make sure a usability person has sufficient power to control the development process. Mobile device interfaces, and interfaces that are built to allow social networks to form need to be usable, as well as a few other variables, such as sociable.
via Tomalak's Realm