25 January 2007

Jeffrey Veen chats with Irene Au, director of user experience at Google

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In the following transcript, Jeffrey Veen (one of the founding partners of Adaptive Path and current Design Manager at Google) talks to Irene Au (Google’s Director of User Experience) about the ins and outs of working at Google, and the colorful path she took to get there.

An excerpt:

“In a lot of conventional companies, design is kind of a top-down process. Where you think about who are your target users, what’s the market you’re going after, what are their needs. You do requirements-gathering, and then you design the experience around that, and then you tell the engineers to go build. Here, the way products are conceived a lot of times, it’s an engineer has some kind of idea and then starts building it and then — as it gains momentum — a product manager and a designer might become attached to it. So it’s a very bottoms-up kind of process, which is very different to how designers are trained to think about product development. Yet I still think that there are ways that designers can work within that environment and still have products be use-driven and design-driven, but the ways in which you go about getting yourself inserted might be quite different than [at] other cultures, [which] are maybe more top-down, or product- or marketing- or design-driven.”

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