Lessons From Google Mobile

by:   |  Posted on

Google’s NYC office hosted a sold out last month’s meeting of the New York City Usability Professionals Association (NYC UPA), featuring a presentation by Leland Rechis, a UX designer in their mobile team. Exactly the sort of hyper-intelligent bespectacled geek one hopes to meet there, Rechis surveyed the key insights the UX group learned while building Google’s “mobile search product”:http://www.google.com/mobile.

Taken aback by the scale of the development effort, I began to wonder how many of the lessons learned were even relevant if you aren’t Google, or at least Google-sized. The basic problems of translating existing services and brands over to the mobile space concern many smaller organizations, but Rechis demonstrated that becoming a global mobile presence presents extraordinary challenges.

Basic problem solving still completely swamps any other creative concern when working on mobile sites. A refreshing blast of Spartan usability problems, mobile site design is uncluttered with your typical mamby-pamby web problems. Can a user get the information, and fast? Answer this question and you’re far ahead of everyone else.

The design process described was quite effective at powering through a lot of basic usability problems, but struck me as potentially ill suited to a younger project that might still be finding itself.

Here are four key points I took home. Continue reading Lessons From Google Mobile

Why Is That Thing Beeping? A Sound Design Primer

by:   |  Posted on

“The sounds a product makes are there to contribute to its usability, enjoyment, and brand identity—in some cases in more compelling ways than its form or functionality.”

As designers, we tend to spend a lot of time talking about the visual identity of a project, but who thinks about its audible identity? Do we need to consider it at all? Art forms such as theater, film, and video games have grown to include carefully considered sounds and are clearly better off for it. By learning to include audio as an important design parameter in web or product design, we might achieve the same successful results.

While a composer or sound designer’s concerns can seem esoteric to the visually oriented design world, we can engage these team members on some familiar territory when we need to work together. In composing sounds, the basic parameters of good design and process always apply. These parameters will be key in learning how to incorporate new sounds and new team members into a project. Continue reading Why Is That Thing Beeping? A Sound Design Primer