I’m fond of my Gmail account.
I’ve got enough email accounts out there that pointing all of them at a single account is a time saver. Combined with the Google blazin’ fast search, I feel like I’ve got a usable meta-mail account.
And that’s about it.
The folders, filters, labels… I know all that stuff is there, but the fast search makes the necessity of organizing your mail a second order task. The Google lesson is: Just search doofus.
What is unique about Gmail is that it’s Google’s apparent first foray into a sophisticated web application. There’s a user interaction more complicated than “Type something — Hit Enter”… and that’s what my question is: “Is Google any good at user interaction design?”
I’m an engineering manager which means I’m often deluded into believing I know what I’m talking about when it comes to user interaction. I don’t. Engineers design UI based on how they see the code working in their head and this had lead to years of confused end users wondering, “What the hell were they thinking?”
What we were thinking the code and the interaction experience is somehow related and it’s not. Yes, the code does create the application, but how that application is used by folks who actually need the product to work is not something most engineers are equipped to understand.
I like interaction designers.
They piss me off.
They bring a radically different perspective to the design table and, if they’re good, they’re not going to be swayed by know-it-all-engineers who blindly say, “Well, that’s just the way it works”.
The question is, “Does Google have good UI?”
I can’t tell.