Google, I correctly contend, is overrun with unsocialized Aspergerian math guys who think anything to do with visual design (or, for that matter, accommodating cripples) just does not compute, viz:

It is still an engineer culture that believes in traditional inside-out design. If you can’t write code, you don’t have credibility – and the anthropologists didn’t have credibility. “You have to convince the engineers to get anything done,” she said. She used workshops, brainstorming sessions and cartooning – cartooning – to transmit the anthropologocial research to the engineers. With varying degrees of success, I expect.

About as much success as the multi-billion-dollar monolith’s sole functioning visual designer, Doug Bowman, ever had. This is, after all, a place where usability head Irene Au recapitulates her own math nerds and derides typography as something twee designers fiddle with to make pages “breathe.”

A lot of designers want to increase the line height or padding in order to make the interface “breathe.” We deliberately don’t do that. We want to squeeze in as much information as possible above the fold. We recognize that information density is part of what makes the experience great and efficient. Our goal is to get users in and out really quickly. All our design decisions are based on that strategy.

Welcome, Irene Au, to the title of Worst Enemy of Web Design.

Tell me: Have you ever found a remotely attractive Google product or service? (Is Google Analytics – believed to be the first service Bowman worked on, and, apparently, the last – the closest thing to one?) These people have less taste than Microsoft, previously the low-water mark.

A culture that smothers a leading standardista and prototypical graphic designer, one that reduces him to a designer of delete buttons and a debater of line widths, is a culture of anti-intellectualism and visual illiteracy masquerading as one of unstinting empiricism. No wonder Bowman finally quit (for Twitter). I welcome him back to a world where he is actually wanted.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2009.03.19 12:30. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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None. I quit.

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