Google has long prided itself on innovative design that captures the imagination of its users while staying fresh, clean, and useful. Although Google’s aesthetic is based on its own unique style, the fundamentals of Google’s design are applicable to any website.
Google’s 10 Principles of Design:
1. “Focus on people–their lives, their work, their dreams.”
Google correctly places the user experience at the forefront of their design. Instead of focusing on creating websites that “impress users with [their] whizbang technology or visual style,” Google’s aesthetic focuses on the people it serves.
When developing your website, it is important to first focus on the user. Ask yourself, “how will each element of design contribute to making the website efficient and easily navigable for the user?” Instead of creating flashy graphics simply for the sake of showing off, make sure that your website focuses on optimizing the user experience.
2. “Every millisecond counts.”
Google values its users’ time and believes that speed should never be sacrificed for fancy graphics or images. Make sure that when you design your website, that you eliminate videos or files that take too long to load. Users can easily navigate away from any website, so your website should grab their attention in milliseconds. This is especially true for mobile websites. With the limited processing power of most smartphones, it is essential that your website loads quickly. Oftentimes, this means eschewing Flash for HTML5 to make sure that every portion of your website is accessible to users. (Read more about HTML5 here.)
3. “Simplicity is powerful.”
Google is known for its minimalist style, and although your website need not be so stark, it is important that your site is not overly complicated. Creating designs that are simple but aesthetically pleasing is essential for keeping load time down and usability up.
4. “Engage beginners and attract experts.”
Google believes that its design should be attractive to those at all levels of expertise. Google’s intent is to draw in those that want to use their software at a basic level, while still allowing experts to engage with the product in a more advanced way if they would like. To apply this idea to your website, make sure that it is multi-dimensional, serving a variety of users at a variety of levels. To make this functionality profitable, consider adding a portion of your website that is only accessible through monthly payments or a Facebook “like” option.
5. “Dare to innovate.”
Google believes that taking risks is profitable. In order to be industry leaders, Google always must stay ahead of the game, creating design that stays ahead of the pack while providing users with a consistent experience. Get creative with your website. Is there a functionality that you wish you could implement but do not currently have the in-house technical ability to implement it? Contact AndPlus for a consultation.
6. “Design for the world.”
Google is an international brand and thus must make sure that its products translate across all boarders. Even if your brand is not quite as global, your website should be accessible from a variety of different platforms: mobile, laptop, desktop, tablet, and more. These days, users are accessing content from many different sources, so make sure that your website has a consistent look on each of these devices.
7. “Plan for today’s and tomorrow’s business.”
According to its company website, Google makes a point of ensuring that profit is not at the heart of their business decisions. For example, although Google collects revenue by selling advertisement, it makes sure that these ads are relevant to users and do not needlessly distract from content. Now, although the above statement from Google might be a bit untrue–no company can afford to completely forget about profit–it is a meaningful sentiment. Make sure that whatever design decisions your company makes work toward creating a great product rather than just a great bottom line.
8. “Delight the eye without distracting the mind.”
Users feel more comfortable when they encounter design that is truly aesthetically pleasing. Although Google accomplishes this design imperative through minimalism, this concept can be translated to any website. Your website should be appealing, enticing your customer to find out more about your brand without being overly complicated or confusing.
9. “Be worthy of people’s trust.”
Although this principle is not exclusive to design, it’s an important idea to be aware of. Make sure that your website is reliable. It goes without saying that all links should work and be correctly populated. In addition, your website should also rely on a consistent design aesthetic that can consistently represent your brand to the user. Make sure that any functionality that you offer to your consumer is up-front and honest about the way that it collects any necessary data from the user.
10. “Add a human touch.”
Behind any great website or software application is a great company employing real people with a variety of goals and dreams. By communicating the human side of your business, users will be able to identify with, and understand your product. Your website’s design perspective should include reminders of this personal mentality.
Does your website or software application live up to Google’s design principles? If not, it may be time for a makeover. Contact AndPlus today for more information about starting this process.