Google has progressed since the days of 41 shades of blue. At least in the user interface of their products. I had no insight into whether this reflects a change in the underlying process. But now there is some news on that front. Yesterday Chris Wiggins (Creative Director at Google) made a post to the “Official Google Blog” to explain the “new and improved Google experience … founded on three key design principles”: Focus, Elasticity, Effortlessness. I think the man, and the company, are serious, and I sincerely applaud them for it and wish them well.
If you doubt my commitment to obsessing on Google UIs, click on the thumbnails below (they are versions of the Google Reader landing page, the one on the right has been subjected to CSS, and only CSS, tweaks by me):
Plain old links for the above images: original, hacked.
And in that spirit, I offer the below to Chris. His original blog post is on the left) and two CSS hacked ones are on right. They address the issues of focus and simplicity – the criteria listed by Wiggins in his post.
Plain old links for the above images: original, hacked part 1, hacked part 2.
The emphasis, in the CSS changes I have made, is to put the post content at the centre of attention as well as to make it more readable. This is hopefully achieved through these modifications: increased line spacing of the post text, separation of header from content, additional spacing between list items, larger header and content fonts, smaller sidebar font (and while we are at it Helvetica rather than Arial all around), clear differentiation between content and sidebar sections through use of addition space and a dotted separator line (a style already in used elsewhere in the blog style), hyperlink hinting in sidebar using a subtler shade of blue (no pun intended) and removal of the underline, and some space between the uncomfortably paired search input and button elements.