Paul Buchheit, Google employee #23:
I wrote the first version of Gmail in one day. It was not very impressive. All I did was stuff my own email into the Google Groups (Usenet) indexing engine. I sent it out to a few people for feedback, and they said that it was somewhat useful, but it would be better if it searched over their email instead of mine.
And another nice bit, from an earlier post about undo:
…one comment that was so remarkably wrong that it brightened my whole day:
While an Undo feature could be useful, isn’t this just coddling people who should otherwise be paying closer attention to what they are doing? A mistake is a mistake, and people need to learn to live with the consequences of the mistakes they make.
This comment may have been a joke, but I really like this “tough love” approach to usability, because in just a few words it perfectly captures the exact opposite of what we should be doing.
To design great products, we must truly empathize with our users, and understand that if they are having problems using our products, is more likely our fault, not theirs.
…[T]he more we can lower the costs of making mistakes, the faster we can move.