Lately, at work, within our department we’ve been discussing company culture. A while back, we read Delivering Happiness, the book by Tony Hsieh about the history of the company and culture of Zappos. A few months ago, a Googler accidentally posted an internal memo on Google+ that showed the world a lot about Google culture, especially with the fact that it was allowed to be left public and did not receive any negative repercussions (as far as we know). We’ve also been mulling over the Netflix culture presentation over the last few weeks. I love what I do and where I work, especially the team I work with and the department I work in. I’m always encouraged with a discussion about how we can improve workplace culture, so I was very interested to dive into a study of workplace culture and how the corporate presentation of culture and actual practice line up.
Via an Androinica article, I just found out that Instagram is finally available for the Android OS. So now, finally, all of us Android users can find out what you iPhone users have been raving about for years. I guess because of the history of Instagram-like apps in the Google Play store, the actual Instagram app doesn’t show up in the first two app results when you do a search for Instagram. I gave up browsing through the 494 app results and went back to the original article, which conveniently had a link to download Instagram for Android from the Google Play store.
Having not used Instagram before, I found the installation and setup simple and following iPhone users I know who have Instagram accounts to be an easy process. Having used a couple of Instagram-like apps for Android, my favorites being Camera ZOOM FX and Pixlr-o-matic, I have a suspicion (based on what I’ve read so far) that the camera and filter features aren’t necessarily better than other camera apps, but the Instagram community is what makes the app so successful.
I started using a MacBook Pro a few months ago and haven’t had many issues with the transition. I’m finally getting used to the differences in how the operating system works and all the differences that you find out about as you go. Overall, it has been a good experience with the exception of all of the problems I have had with fonts. I have a font manager installed with way too many fonts and so I’ve been trying to pare them down to something more usable, but keep running into issues.
The first issue I had was with the Arial font. It was installed, but not active (or something like that) and so sites using the Arial font ended up showing a serif font instead. As a web developer, it was a little frustrating, but wasn’t a great hindrance to browsing or productivity, however. After playing with the font manager for a while, I finally got Arial to show up.
After attending yesterday’s “A Brief History of the Complete Redesign of Google,” which gave an in-depth look at the process of the Google User Interface (UI) design and redesign over the year, at the South by Southwest Interactive 2012 Conference, I’ve been thinking a lot about how the redesign process at Google translates over to those of us who also have day jobs taking care of major website brands. A lot of the things that we complain about in our corporate work were discussed in the Google panel discussion, with examples of how they were overcome in this process.
The following things stood out to me as necessary for a complete Brand redesign to be successfully completed. Hopefully, none of the terms that the panel of Googlers used were proprietary or trademarked.
- Executive Buy-In
- Take the Design Temperature
- Unique Concept Presentation
- Do the Initial Design in a Vacuum
Sunday, March 11 at South by Southwest Interactive Conference, Austin, TX
Google Panel Consisting of Evelyn Kim (Visual Designer for Maps), Jon Wiley (Lead Designer for Google Search), Michael Leggett (Design Lead, Google Apps & Gmail), Nicholas Jitkoff (User Experience Designer for Chrome), Chris Wiggins (Google Creative Lab)
The Evolution of Google Design
“So did Google just hire a bunch of designers recently, or were they all being kept in a cage all this time?” @tylerball
The process of this redesign is told in two stories. There is the story that you know about that happened in 2011, but most people don’t know the story of the redesign in 2007. 6 designers set out to express the Google brand that was consistent across all properties. It was called Kanna (Icelandic for “to explore, to examine”). Trying to find the balance between form and function, but mainly design and engineering. Looked at over 100 brand attributes that were narrowed down to 4 clusters.
The Google+ Developers group announced today that the next update to the +1 button is strictly a UI change, with no functionality differences. I like the look of the clicked button, after you have activated it by using the plus one functionality.
However, the +1 button itself, not clicked, seems a little too camouflaged to me. It blends in with the surrounding area and doesn’t yell “click me!” like a good “call to action” button should. We talk a lot about the difference between what good design looks like and good design that actually gets user interaction, so I’m sure the good folks developing the Google+ button have tested the new design and found that the new design outperforms the old. They wouldn’t just change things to keep changing things, would they?
As I mentioned in my post the other day, the Google+ Badge has gotten some tweaks. I think they’re great improvements that will help you increase your reach on Google+, as well as some good usability updates that just make sense.
I really like the new follow button in the Google+ site badge. It just makes sense to be able to put a site in your follow circle if you don’t want to decide which circle you want to add the person or site.
The new plus 1 button functionality sounded a lot better than it has actually proved out to be after the launch. The click on the +1 button is supposed to automatically trigger the share widget to appear. In practice, it seems like their is a brief hesitation before the share widget is triggered. In my experience, I personally navigate away from the button as soon as I’ve clicked it, so I would like to see the share widget open more quickly. It may be programmed to do that, but maybe server or bandwidth limitations make it a little less responsive.
In the Google+ Developers preview group, it was announced today that the Google+ badge is getting a couple of really good tweaks.
First, the “Add to Circles” button is going to become a follow button and when clicked, it will automatically add the account to your “following” circle. At that point, you can change circles or select a different circle, but it’s an easy one-click way to add a Google+ page to your circles.
Secondly, the sharing functionality is going to get a little easier. Currently, when you +1 something, you have to click twice to get the sharing dialogue to appear. This will now be the default functionality, which will make it much easier to share content on Google Plus. If you are a member of the Google developers preview group, you can already see this functionality in action.
A cool thing, though, is that if you use the Google+ badge on your site, you can +1 your post (which you should do anyway for all of your posts, right?) which then allows you to share the post on your wall. It’s an extra step, but it makes it easy for you to easily share your latest post on your Google+ page.