Like any other great idea, this thought passed along while I was in the bathroom!!
Google Instant, the hype at the moment, the so call “real instant time” search has changed the way we interact with Google.com. Well delving in a little into the ‘interface’ however, one can always ask, what do we see??
The answer would be Redundancy!!
Here is the Google.com homepage with instant search on.
So what do we see here. Forget about the top links and the footer links. Let’s try to focus on the main content.
We’ve the Google logo, an extra large search text field, two links on the right to go for ‘Advance Search’ and ‘Language Tools’ and then two buttons, ‘Google Search’ and ‘I’m feeling Lucky’.
Now, I shall give you a task and before continuing reading this article, try it out yourself and come back to this.
The task is simple. Goto www.google.com, type in your name in the search text field and use the button to google it!!
Ahhem.. no peeking, I told you, go and see for yourself!!
Have you tried it now?? Ok, then, let’s continue.
So you were not able to click the buttons… am I right?? As soon as you type a piece of your search string, google instant transfer you to this screen below
So the design logic is simple: Why the heck do we still see the two buttons viz ‘Google Search’ & ‘Im feeling lucky’??
Continuing, on the image above, we still have another ‘Search’ button (extreme right of the search box). Now, let me ask you, “Out of 10, how many times are you likely to use that button??”
As you keep typing on, the results are shown. As soon as you know that your search string is not throwing up the results you want, you press the backspace key a few times and retype another string and it keeps going on and on. No one is tempted, or rather it is absolutely unrequired to use a mouse or the ‘tab’ key to go to the button and hit return!! In fact google itself suggest to “Press Enter to search“.
So the design logic is again: Why the heck do we still see the button??
Well, it goes the same even when you disable Google Instant Search. Below is the google suggest when you turn the instant search off.
If you really need to use the buttons down there, you always can, but seriously think about it. Do we really need it?? You type the query, you hit enter, that’s what is comfortable to the users. A user wants to continue what he or she was using. Say if a user is typing, he wants to continue using the keyboard to achieve all the actions (although practically not always possible); if he was using the mouse, he would surely want to continue using the mouse rather than looking for the keyboard and then implementing it. After typing the search string using the keyboard, no one goes hunting for the mouse or the mouse track pad to point the pointer to the buttons (conscious or not-conscious of Fitt’s law). And, yes, you might ask, what if the user has not got the keyboard at all, he will have to use the mouse?? Then how in the world’s end is he going to type in the query anyway??
Google.com rather should have a more clean and purposeful homepage.
Well, you might consider pointing out, “Oh my!! that’s confusing. What are we gonna understand seeing a long text box??”
My point is, AJAX, has been for a while and when someone sees such kind of text box (without any buttons related with it), people will generally start understanding that it is actually an ajax powered text box. So buttons can be ditched, not only with google, but with every other sites.
Finally, the gist of my blabber here is that, “Buttons are dead; Google killed them“.
N.B: I wonder how many users really use the “I’m feeling lucky” feature!!