If we run an experiment large enough, we want to tell everybody, “Hey, we’re doing an experiment.”
One of the great things about working on products at Google is that we can try stuff out and launch it as an experiment and get tons of data. As a designer, I feel very lucky because I have access to enough data and enough users that I can actually get statistically significant information on whether or not something should be this tall, or this tall, or this tall.
Some designers, it drives them mad. But I think, if you knew that this mock-up is actually, objectively a better experience for people than this mock-up, you’d totally take that.
On the toolbar, this is actually a very complicated design problem. One of the dials that you’re turning is making it a functional, useful, discoverable tool. But other dial you’re turning is that you want to make sure you have enough space on a variety of devices and screens to make sure that the application [the user] is in is given as much space as possible.
Sometimes these trade-offs come into conflict. We have to do a lot of designs, a lot of experiments, a lot of iterations, and so in this particular case, we’re in the middle of that process. We’re trying some stuff, we’re looking at it, we’re seeing how it works, taking that learning, walking it back and iterating on that set of designs.
We’re pretty open about what we do, so we iterate in public a lot and try different things out. This is what happens on search in particular. We’re running tons of experiments all the time to tweak and fix and change.
— Don’t Break Search: Q&A with Google Lead Designer Jon Wiley