For more than 14 years, the Google Doodle has delighted visitors to the google.com
homepage with commemorations of holidays, anniversaries, and the lives of famous artists, pioneers, and scientists. What started as artful—but static— interpretations of the Google logo have grown into animated images and interactive games—like the Doodle 4 Google US winner’s doodle (http://goo.gl/rNHez7
) and the Rubik’s Cube (http://goo.gl/g8LTbg
). As a lead software engineer on the Doodle team, Kristopher Hom collaborates with artists and engineers to push the boundaries of browser technology and showcase what’s possible when engineering and art collide. #workwednesday How did you join the Google Doodle Team?
I lead a team of four engineers and together with some contributions from volunteers, we build the animated and interactive doodles. We work with about 10 illustrators who illustrate doodle images as well as art for the games. Some of the best projects have come out of the collaboration between illustrators and creative coders.What sort of skills does it take to make an interactive doodle?
UX intuition is also really valuable in designing these doodles. We get users of all levels of computer literacy visiting the Google homepage. Part of the challenge is communicating the idea of the game in a way everyone can understand. This job is the closest I’ve come to being a game developer.What is it like designing for the Google Homepage?
It’s an amazing place to showcase what a browser can do but we also want to make sure everybody has a good experience. A lot of thought goes into getting people's attention but also staying out of their way when they start typing in a search query. We also don’t want you to miss out on a doodle, so there’s usually a play button or animation to let you know that something special is happening.What is your favorite doodle that you’ve worked on?
My favorite was the Google Instant doodle (http://goo.gl/TOqx8F
) that just had a bunch of dots on the screen that you could kick around. Its interaction was just extremely simple and peaceful. I also got to leverage my fellow Google engineers when I discovered that my original implementation could be optimized to run more smoothly. I sent out a challenge to some Google engineers to represent the Google logo using fewer dots and ended up using one of the responses. It was neat to get help from other engineers inside the company.Are there any current openings on the Doodle Team?
We don’t have any openings on our team right now but if you’re interested in visual design, interaction design or UX prototyping, there are some opportunities in User Experience (check our open positions here: http://goo.gl/fDxar9
). We often collaborate with the UX team when making interactive doodles.