Google Web Designer vs. The World

Google Web Designer - Google Chrome_2013-11-01_13-45-38-Optimized

Have you tried Google Web Designer yet? I have. So have many others, and to-date, it’s received mixed reviews. Though some speculate Google Web Designer is a move to take market share from Adobe and others have claimed it to be a threat to professional web designers everywhere, the fact is that, at least in its current state, Google Web Designer won’t do either. Many Google innovations are, for better or worse, often greeted with high esteem by the web community. Google Web Designer was not; likely in part for its perceived (though unsubstantiated) pre-launch threats, but also because, unlike so many other Google applications, it simply does not deliver.

If Google Web Designer is to survive to compete – nay, to be relevant at all – it has to win the world over. This is just the beginning of GWD vs. The World, but from what I’ve seen so far this is what has to happen:

1.  Change the name, or change the outcome

As several notable bloggers have pointed out, Google Web Designer would be more aptly named Google Ad Builder, because it seems to be primarily focused on building HTML5 advertisements. The apps should either narrow its focus, or it should quickly add features that lend themselves to building a comprehensive website.

2.  Make it easy for novices to use …

Many web developers and designers alike have commented on GWD’s clunky user interface and lack of direction. They say it’s difficult to understand how to use it.  Practice makes perfect, certainly, but given that GWD is highly unlikely to become the “go to” tool for web developers, it might be better positioned in the marketplace for novice users. That would require a UI overhaul with more intuitive controls.

3.  … OR, beat Adobe at its own game

GWD is a great ad building tool, as many have pointed out, but if it wants to compete for professional web designers’ attention, it needs to not only add relevant features but also grow a robust learning system and user community around the product. Interactive tutorials, freebies, actions and other elements often shared by the Adobe community would be an asset to GWD’s users, and it would help shallow the learning curve to encourage use.

Perhaps Google has a plan to take GWD in one of these directions, or even a new direction altogether. I readily admit how likely it is for Google to know something I don’t, particularly market trends and the future direction of design. Still, no matter how big the company is it can’t dictate a direction without user support. I’m interested in seeing where GWD is three years from now.

What about you?  Have you tried Google Web Designer? What is your impression of the application?