Last week, I gave Microsoft’s new browser a shake, now it’s time to look at the competition. There is a lot else to like about Google’s new browser. But this, this is my favorite feature:
Why does (almost) every product google touches, feel so refreshingly natural to use? A significant part of their competitive advantage comes from an enormous, if invisible, effort of design restraint.
Not trying to make your product always the centre of attention, getting the hell out of the user’s way, is a product design decision that many of us could learn from. And it’s a lesson than certain OS makers, for example (here’s looking at you Redmond & Cupertino, can continue to ignore at their peril.
The design principle of neutrality doesn’t mean less features (Under the hood, Chrome is pretty feature rich for a first generation browser). Just not pestering users with popups they can’t understand, not painting window wrappers and task bars in garish and distracting colors is a good start.
Most of the products we build are tools, they are a means for the user not an end. In most ways good usability is all about reducing all sources of mechanical, perceptual and cognitive friction. If you can get a design to a point where users can instinctively ignore it, that probably means you are doing a good job.
For this an other reasons (also notable the wonderful built-in tab/task manager), Google chrome is now the main browser on our home pc.
You can get google chrome here. (windows only at this point)
previously on design neutrality on thomaspurves.com
link: Google Chrome explanatory cartoon (it’s a great read)