At the left you can see the exclusive screenshot of Google Presentations which CEO Dr. Eric Schmidt announced at Web 2.0 Expo today and about which virtually everyone else has already blogged (I was being social and having fun and just got back to my hotel).
In keeping with Google’s minimalistic approach to design that is “clean” and “ensures fast loading”, Google has opted to go with a white-on-white theme with no controls or other elements to slow presentation parsing via the Internets.
(That blank-n-fake screenshot is just hilarious Borsch and you’ve just proved the point as to why there are no technoweenie, propellerhead or geek comedians).
All kidding aside, it saddens me that Google focuses almost solely on keystrokes vs. brushstrokes (a focus on the technical function of the software over form and the user interface). I use several of Google’s services (Gmail, Analytics, Calendar, Doc’s & Spreadsheets, AdSense) but am consistently stunned by how well the software works, is usually blazingly fast and obviously scales…but how Google designs like a blind architect born without arms.
Like most software engineers I know and have worked with in past lives, these engineers are justified in the knowledge that great software wouldn’t exist without their expertise and engineering acumen. A user interface that’s beautiful and engaging? It’s usually an afterthought and the last thing seriously considered or where energy is focused. In addition, the brushstroke folks who DO build what all customers see and use get short shrift from the engineers as their effete and girly skills are seen to add little value compared to the awesomeness and God-like qualities of a talented software engineer.
No question that simplicity and fast rendering is key in an Internet age and Google has stated publicly many times that speed is their #1 goal. But gradients, color and most pattern doesn’t take anymore time to load than black and white or that God-awful pale blue they use everywhere. Perhaps the absolute necessity and intrinsic value of design will rub off on Dr. Eric Schmidt as he’s exposed to Apple as a board member since no one does it better than Apple.
Tens of millions of Mac OS X users would agree — most of whom don’t even realize that the elegant, beautiful and engaging user interface they’re using sits on top of an operating system (BSD unix) formerly the exclusive playground of geeks.