Google's top designer Doug Bowman has left the company.
(Gossip site Valleywag claims he's joining Twitter.)
In a post on his personal blog, Bowman says he couldn't deal with Google's data-driven approach to website design.
Google's geeky approached to design is epitomized by computer scientist Marissa Mayer, who controls the search giant's homepage.
In a New York Times profile in February, the reporter observed Mayer making snap decisions on designers' presentations, and ordering her team to test 41 separate shades of blue to see which one drew the best user response.
Yes, it's true that a team at Google couldn't decide between two blues, so they're testing 41 shades between each blue to see which one performs better. I had a recent debate over whether a border should be 3, 4 or 5 pixels wide, and was asked to prove my case. I can't operate in an environment like that. I've grown tired of debating such minuscule design decisions. There are more exciting design problems in this world to tackle.
When a company is filled with engineers, it turns to engineering to solve problems ... I won't miss a design philosophy that lives or dies strictly by the sword of data.
According to Bowman, Google's data-driven approach to design hasn't delivered superior results.
Rather, he says, it's a cover for the lack of familiarity with "the principles and elements of Design" in Google's upper management. But since he can't prove the test-all-41-colors approach has diminished the company's success, Bowman claims he's decided there's just no use for his core talents at Google.
(Disclosure: Paul Boutin and Doug Bowman worked together at Hotwired in the 1990s.)
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