Friday, September 12, 2008

Google's Search UI

I wanted to make a note of a couple more Google blog posts that point at some more cool technology. No, I'm not talking about Chrome or the Chrome comic book. Rather, I'm referring to two recent posts by Ben Gomes. In the first post, Ben talks about the principles that guide the design and evolution of the Google search user interface. Of course, any talk of the evolution of the search interface raises a natural question:

A common reaction from friends when I say that I now work on Google's search user interface is "What do you do? It never changes." Then they look at me suspiciously and tell me not to mess with a good thing. Google is fine just the way it is -- a plain, fast, simple web page. That's great, but how hard can that be?"

Turns out it's not as easy as it may seem. Ben discusses a number of principles that guide UI development and provides several examples of the principles in action. One of the most interesting points he makes is related to the goal of search: get you to the web pages you want as quickly as possible. ... This goal may seem obvious, but it makes a search engine radically different from most other sites on the web, which measure their success by how long their users stay. We measure our web search success partly by how quickly you leave (happily, we hope!).

A key part of UI development is experimentation on live traffic. In his second post, Ben describes a series of UI experiments ranging from big, prominent changes to tiny, subtle ones.

... we test almost everything, even things that you would think are so small that we could not possibly care (nor could they possibly matter). In fact, small changes do matter, and we do care.

Check out these posts for a glimpse of the care with which the Google search UI is designed.

No comments:

/* Google Analytics tracking */