About design

Do you want to be a designer? Study computer science! Wait, what?!

So, I was casually browsing the web when a job ad caught my eye. It was an offer by Google UK for an Interaction Designer. Now, I generally consider that these days people managing projects have gotten into the habit of overly dissecting design. You have the Interaction Designer, the Interface Designer (he does what, only the bits of the interface which aren’t interactive?), the Motion Designer, the User Experience Designer (wait, isn’t design all about the user experience?), but I got curious and read on.

Google says a bunch of things and then defines the job:

“The role: Interaction Designer

As a UI Designer, you will work closely with engineers and product managers throughout all stages of the product cycle. You are a critical thinker with a good design sense, a strong technical background, and an eye for making things better. Interaction Designers¬†work on projects that have an impact on the web experience of millions of Google users.”

So, ok, they need a good interface designer for their team. Great. What would you expect the requirements to be? Let me help you there… Google wants you to, basically, be a computer engineer.

I know, right? I’d expect them to actually prefer a designer, but the line reads:

“Strong academic background in human-computer interaction or related field preferred (BS or MS in Computer Science or related field a big plus).”

I’m wondering if ¬†this explains why, generally speaking, Google interfaces suck so bad. I mean, GMail is marginally usable, but I’ve had an account there since the time when you needed an invite to get in and I still struggle to find the compose button. But, then again, if they prefer to hire computer scientists to do interface design, I really shouldn’t be surprised.

…and don’t even get me started on Android…