Forgive me for responding skeptically to Bob Ryskamp’s panegyric to the company that pays his wages, Google. He lists a raft of benefits to working there, but, true to form, cannot use semantic HTML to do it (“<p><em>1.”). Is anyone at Google, even Hixie, capable of producing valid, semantic HTML on the first try?

Tell me something here: If design is such a fruitful, personally rewarding endeavour at Google, where are the results? Where’s the design? I’m not just talking about graphic presentation, an across-the-board disaster save for the only “product” that Bowman got to design from end to end, Google Analytics. (And that product still requires at least four clicks and an unrequested new window just to find out who linked to your page.)

I repeat: Where’s the design? Even if one interprets “design” in a catholic sense, what are these “200+” people doing? Why did it take my esteemed colleague a full week to figure out how to turn on and see Street View in the Google iApp? (And that’s after Googling it and finding no answer. We Googled the Google app and still got nothing!)

Now, what happens when Google buys your company? We never hear from you again; the company smothers your product or lets it wither on the vine. What happens when Google hires a designer? Much the same thing. Your work output becomes nil. Or it gets rejected by borderline autistics who insist on numerical testing of every single component. Ryskamp flirts with disingenuousness when he lists “intense quantitative testing” as a barrier your design must surmount inside the Google compound. Numbers are what design ignoramuses use to shoot down your work. (Why does Google design suck? Because they think design is a number.)

I get the impression Ryskamp is trying to reassure himself that Google’s velvet handcuffs (e.g., “free food”) were not, in fact, a product of the company’s notorious industrial psychology. He uses his posting’s public supplication to reassure himself that he was not hoodwinked into thinking he could “make a difference” at a company that exists to sell advertising (96.9% of revenues).

Google is a place designers quit. I accept that the following reading is extreme, but I take Ryskamp’s posting as a dying gasp.

(And, Jens Meiert, watch out: Are you next?)

MINOR UPDATE: By my count, Ryskamp’s blog’s header block uses 41 shades of colour.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2011.04.21 15:36. 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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