Thursday, October 9, 2008

Why test matters



A picture is worth a thousand words...

http://gizmodo.com/5053734/how-many-google-engineers-does-it-take-to-tell-the-time

4 comments:

Илья Казначеев said...

Ожидаю этого на failblog.org

GFAIL

Dzembu Gaijin said...

You should buy iPhone, dude :)

NS said...

.. and testing matters even more :-)

BadTux said...

Test matters, certainly. I have some horror stories from a previous company on that (they had the same basic philosophy as Google, it seemed to me, and it ended up killing them dead as a stone after burning through $60M of investor money and burning me out big time on them to the point where I left after I fought their corporate culture for a year to get a reliable product out the door despite nobody else in the company caring). On the other hand, this is a mock-up made by an artist, not a picture of the real product.

On the third hand... *design matters* too. My personal smartphone is still a hoary old Palm Treo 700p. Not because I love PalmOS -- the underlying OS sucks rocks -- but because unlike every other smartphone OS on the market, I can operate it with one hand *without* pulling out a stylus, *without* needing two hands to slide things apart and use a too-big thumbboard, *without* having to poke at a screen and make gestures with multiple fingers while holding the phone with my other hand. I can simply pull the friggin thing out of my left pants pocket with my left hand, hold it in my left hand, and do everything I need to do without ever touching it with my right hand. *EVERYTHING*. I can't do that with any other smartphone on the market.

And unfortunately, this Google phone sucks even worse on the design front. It's like the Linux GNOME desktop, just completely inconsistent and stupid. Linux doesn't *have* to look like that -- look at the Nokia version of Linux on their little Internet tablets, for example, which is quite usable and consistent (does require two hands, but for such a big chunky device doing as much as it does that's acceptable). But it seems that Google hired too many "cool kids", none of whom have the foggiest notion of *design*.

Okay, so I'm a design nazi. My team gives me a mockup that is five screens full of all sorts of bells and whistles and knobs, and I send it back to them and tell them, "I want one data entry field with a 'Browse' button beside it, and two buttons under that saying 'Submit' and 'Cancel', the rest of this either the customer doesn't give a **** about or we can figure it out on the backend by looking at the file the customer gave us." You gotta keep the geeks from going nuts, else your UI is going to be a pile of cr*p. And someone has to be in friggin' *charge* and say "No. You will NOT do that" to the geeks. You can't have ten people all with the "final word" on something like this. It just does not work. You end up with a freakin' mess. It's called *design*. Apple is a master of it. Microsoft... meh. Not so much. Microsoft confuses glitz with design, which is why their very technically good Windows Mobile 5 sucks rocks usability-wise compared to hoary old PalmOS which made a virtue out of necessity (the primitive underlying OS). Google... sigh. Sometimes they get things right, but only when it's something that one guy put together in his "spare" time. Android, having required the work of a bunch of Googlers, isn't one of those things that Google got right...