With billions of searches per day, Google.com brings real meaning to designing at scale. Just as important are the human touches—such as Google Doodles—which serve Google’s fundamental design mission, to delight its users. As its products reach people from 150 countries speaking more than 100 languages, Google’s design team has had to develop a unique philosophy for user-centered design. Marissa Mayer, who guides the user experience on Google.com and several other properties, explores how both empiricism and personality are essential to good design.
Marissa Mayer is the vice president of search products and user experience at Google and leads the company’s product management efforts on search products—web search, images, news, books, products, maps, Google Earth, the Google Toolbar, Google Desktop, Google Health, Google Labs and more. She joined Google, a small start-up, in 1999 as the company’s first female engineer. Her efforts have included designing and developing Google’s search interface, internationalizing the site to more than 100 languages, defining Google News, Gmail and Orkut and launching more than 100 features and products on Google.com. Several patents have been filed on her work in artificial intelligence and interface design. Mayer has taught introductory computer programming classes at Stanford University to more than 3,000 students. Stanford has recognized her with the Centennial Teaching Award and the Forsythe Award for her outstanding contribution to undergraduate education. Mayer has been featured in various publications, including The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Fortune, Fast Company and Newsweek’s “10 Tech Leaders of the Future” and Red Herring’s “15 Women to Watch.”