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Google I/O To Elevate Focus On Design

TechCrunch logo TechCrunch 17/04/2014 Josh Constine

For Google to win, it needs to attract the best designers to its team and get beautiful third-party apps built for its platforms. Yet right now it’s Google’s rival Apple and the iOS ecosystem that are known for their style. So this year, Google’s Jon Wiley tells me it’s “doing a really big push around design” at its 2014 I/O developer conference by adding sessions on Android UX, wearable app design, speech interfaces, and more.

Today it’s starting that drive by releasing a series of “Design Minutes” video interviews with its own designers to stoke interest from this community while  until April 18th. 

The first three Design Minutes videos reveal the creative process and philosophy behind three of Google’s most iconic products.

sees designer Isabelle Olson describe how Google hid the circuit board inside the frame of the face-worn computer, and kept weighing its prototypes until they made it light enough.

discusses how Google Maps analyzed the way people draw maps on napkins to understand how to strip out unnecessary side roads and landmarks to make it clear how to get to a destination.

 follows Wiley as he walks viewers through Google’s major search redesign from a few years ago. It turns out that by just increasing the size of the text input box for search, the whole query experience got faster and more satisfying. 

Wiley has been at Google for 7.5 years and spent the last 5 years designing for search. He tells me that while I/O’s tagline is “Design, Develop, Distribute”, it’s the last two that have gotten most of the love that past few years. “People are familiar with Google’s expertise when it comes to computer science, and our ability particularly within search to create the most relevant answer and deliver it to them as quickly as possible. What doesn’t get talked about quite as often is…the nuance of crafting those experiences.” By boosting the design side of I/O’s program, Wiley hopes to spotlight Google’s emphasis on smooth experiences, and teach developers how they can bring them to their own products.

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