Google I/O – Design Sessions

I had the chance to attend two interesting and complementary sessions on design during the Google I/O 13 conference. During the Get Unstuck: Gamestorming Not Brainstormingsession the audience had a chance to play two brainstorming game. I will not go into detailed descroption of those games, for those curious or interested I recommend the session cheat sheet and

However one interesting statement has been made at the beginning of the session:

Design is following the same path as quality within IT product development team.

It is now part of everyone job, and not only the responsibility of a group of specialist,

and should be in taken into account in every stage of the product development. 

The Cognitive Science and Design session has been very intense in terms of information delivery. Tons of excellent advice  No break through tricks or process have been presented during this session, only a solid list of things to keep in mind while designing your next screen.

Alex Faaborg and reminds the audience about the risk of design blindness, as

  • you are not right person or team to judge your design, and
  • once you launched something it is really hard to go back or do radical changes on it, since
  • a user make up his first opinion (trust, reliability, purchase) on a product based on its design, and it take times to change his mind for an other product / solution – first appearance / interaction has to be solid.
Then the session break down under four mains topics:

1. Gestalt laws of grouping:

  • to get a cleaner interface use white space to group your element instead of hard bar or delimiters
  • if you cannot use white space, vary shapes to group items (using icones or colors background)
  • user will complete half drown boxes and shape (law of closure), no need to over charge your design with closed box, you can just suggest them

2. User’s vision:

  • easier to catch the user attention with things happening in the periphery of the screen than in the center of it.
  • we recognize silhouette faster than the real object (good to keep in mind for icon design) as user don’t have to break down the structure and recognize.
  • among a large number of information, we recognized known faces quickly (use avatar in interface) – on your Facebook timeline your recognizable your friend face and you don’t read their name.

3. Color usage:

  • pay attention to color meaning in different culturs
  • user filter color based information faster than text based.
4. User memory and attention span
  • be careful when you interrupt users in their tasks as it trash their working memory and you will get them out of the flow (and drop a registration or check out process for example)
  • split your task in small chuck to limit the usage of memory and increase the process speed (for example split credit card information in 4 digits group)
  • don’t hesitate to innovate new interface and teach your user how to use it instead or repeating the same interface or process over and over.

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