Google’s Goals,
User Experience Challenges
Maria Stone
10/08/07
based on earlier talks by Jen Fitzpatrick, Jenny Gove, Deepak Menon and Michael Margolis
1
Google’s Mission
Organize the world's information and
make it universally accessible and useful.
2
Innovate.
Remember portals?
3
Embrace the browser.
4
Build for scale, speed, and reliability.
According to comScore:
• Google is the #2 Web Property in the U.S., with 129 million monthly unique visitors.
• Google is the #1 Web Property Worldwide, with 561 million monthly unique visitors.
(Source: comScore Networks, 9/07)
5
Keep it simple.
1999
2007
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5 User Experience Challenges
1. Understanding our users
2. Localization and internationalization
3. Consistency
4. Integration
5. Anywhere, anytime
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1. Understanding our users
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Diversity of Users and Needs
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1. Understanding our users
Get different parts of the story from different sources at
different stages.
• Usability Studies, Field Studies and Contextual interviews
• Quantitative market research
• Live online experiments (aka A/B tests)
• Logs
• Customer support
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1. Understanding our users
Usability Studies and Discovery Research
– Fast, qualitative, customer research with small samples
– Tells us: Who? What? How? Why?
– When:
• Before: Rapid discovery techniques define problems and needs (field studies,
phone interviews, card sorts, competitive evaluations, diaries, etc.)
• During design: Evaluation methods (think aloud, eye tracking, prototype
testing, cognitive walkthroughs, etc.)
• After launch: More evaluation and discovery for next iteration.
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Google Talk (in Gmail)
Version 1
Finding: users got stuck,
looking for send button
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Google Talk (in Gmail)
Version 1
Finding: users got stuck,
looking for send button
Version 2
Finding: some users thought
chat window was a popup –
closed before seeing message
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Google Talk (in Gmail)
Version 1
Version 3
Version 2
Success!
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1. Understanding our users
Quantitative Market Research
Includes
– Profile groups of users (e.g. demographics, segmentation).
– Monitor customer satisfaction and net promoter scores.
– Identify key drivers of satisfaction.
– Test concepts.
– Quantify issues identified through qualitative research.
• Tells us: Who? What? How many? Where?
• When: Before design, after launch
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1. Understanding our users
Live Online Experiments (aka A/B tests)
• Present new UI to small % of users and compare to use of existing UI.
• Tells us: What? When? How many?
• When: After build, but before launch.
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1. Understanding our users
Logs Analysis
• Statistical analysis of aggregated records of actual usage behaviors.
• Tells us: What? When? How many?
• When: After launch
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Statistical Log Analysis: Spell Check
• Initial spell-checker was low quality
• Build a better product – improve quality
Stronger UI - big and red
Logs show that people
still misspell; don’t click
on suggestion
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1. Understanding our users
Customer Support
• Tells us: What’s wrong?
• When: After launch
• How: Direct feedback from users highlights common issues and
problems for launched products and services.
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Customer support feedback: Gmail
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2. Localization and Internationalization
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“. . . the world’s information . . . universally accessible. . .”
• ~65% of all Internet users speak a
primary language other than English.
• 79% of Internet usage is outside
North America (InternetWorldStats.com)
…
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“. . . and useful. . .”
People rely more on landmarks than addresses in Japan.
Show more landmarks
(e.g. stores and buildings)
than in US or Europe.
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Watch for Cultural References
Ice cubes don’t mean “cool” in other languages.
• Argentinians use “bananas.”
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But wait. . . there’s more!
• Right-to-Left Text and UI
– Arabic, Hebrew, Urdu
are bi-directional
• Text input in Asia
Google preferences in Arabic
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3. Consistency
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Consistency: Reinforce Google brand.
A
B
C
D
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Consistency: Reinforce Google brand
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Consistency: Reduce learning curve.
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4. Integration
1+1>2
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Integration
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Search + Movie showtimes, Maps
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Universal search—trivia facts and news
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Talk + Gmail
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Smart Widgets in Gmail
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5. Anywhere, Anytime
“. . . make it universally accessible. . .”
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Going mobile. . .
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In conclusion. . .
“Focus on the user,
and all else will follow…”
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Thank you!
Questions?
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