Thoughts On The Google Redesign

Google redesigned. Apparently it’s been in the pipeline for a while. I even saw some interesting but totally useless tribute redesigns. But now the official re-design is there, and I don’t like it.

The changes

There’s no reason to repeat the changes, since they’ve been described well already, but what I’ve not yet read about, is the how the new design “feels”.

Why “feel” Google? Well, because we all use it—every day. We’re used to it, and most of us love it. And to me, the new Google design, doesn’t feel right.

The changes are subtle, no doubt because so many use it so much. Change is scary, and Google knows it.

So how can it go wrong?

google

The changes that annoy me, are as few as they are annoying.

  1. The tabs were removed in favor of small links above the search box
  2. Why? I liked them! They made sense, they were close to where my mouse likes to be when I Google, and I used them all the time.

  3. They changed the way Google ads appear
  4. The ads used to be boxed with colored backgrounds. Now they look more like the rest of the search results. No doubt this is to increase the clickrate, which will probably happen since they no longer read as ads. But dangit, I liked it before when my inner-eye ad-filter could easily rid of them.

  5. The search category

Where the tabs used to be, is now a light-blue area with a 1px dark blue line above it. Okay, I know this is pushing pixels, but damn it if not the category now has the same color as the advertisement right below it! GUIDE MY EYE please Google, i’m in a hurry! Don’t confuse me by smarting up on the color scheme!—Or in short, Make the category header background the same dark blue it used to be, or give me back my tabs!

Sigh. I’m sure Google usability-tested it from here to hell, and maybe they know what they’re doing.

But to me, it doesn’t feel right!

9 thoughts on “Thoughts On The Google Redesign”

  1. Nik says:

    I agree with you on this.

    Although I wasn’t aware that a redesign was in the pipeline, I have recently noticed that I’ve been scanning the page more than I used to. What I mean is like you said about the sponsored ads, I’ve found myself ‘checking’ to see what they are, as the split doesn’t seem to be defined as well.

    Maybe we’ll get used to it?

    Oh, my name is Nik, sorry for posting to your site but you helped me out a lot when I was starting flash, with your guide and time taken to reply to emails.

    Anyway, I read your post and thought, yeh.. so Google has changed, and was inspired to write! 🙂

  2. Joen says:

    Please, post all you want. It’s one of the main reasons I upgraded to Movable Type—in fact, I only think it’s okay for me to rant like this, if people can comment with their true opinion! Otherwise it wouldn’t be fair, I think. Glad I could help you in the past.

    Yes, I agree with you, I think we’ll “get used to the design”. The fact remains, Google is still way better than MSN, Yahoo, Altavista and.. well, I forgot their names :)—old search engines.

    So whatever problems I have with the redesign are there because Google is close to my heart.

  3. Brian says:

    I hadn’t noticed the difference until you pointed it out to me.

    Then again, I often skip seeing google at all, since I have an address bar shortcut for “I feel lucky” searches that just get me where I want to go.

  4. Joen says:

    You’re using Firefox right? Tell me more about this shortcut …

  5. mla says:

    It just don’t feel right I agree 100%. Usability testers are more concerned with scope and scalability now-a-days anyhow rather than actual usability.

  6. Firefox allows you to have a search keyword for a given shortcut.

    It works like this:

    if you write:

    Firefox will look for a shortcut with the as a keyword, take the url in that shortcut, substitute the string “%s” with whatever was, and go to that url.

    So, if I have a shortcut to:

    http://www.google.com/search?q=%s

    with the keyword “g”, I can write “g feck” in the address bar, and google will go to

    http://www.google.com/search?q=feck

    which is the result page for a google search on feck.

    This effectively means, that any dictionary or website that uses the form GET method to search, can have a google shortcut.

    Among my favorites are google.com, google I feel lucky, dictionary.com, urbandictionary.com, imdb.com, and astalavista.box.sk.

    I use “go” for my google I feel lucky keyword, so I use stuff like “go ATI driver download” a lot, instead of going to ATI.com and trying to find the page myself.

  7. Joen says:

    Those look like good tips. Specifically that “go” shortcut seems useful.

    A pity my less than perfect movable type installation seems to have “cleaned up” your code examples… Sorry about that man. If you feel up to it you can mail it to me, and i’ll paste it in. In any case I’ll look closer into it now that I know what to be looking for. Thanks.

  8. Brian says:

    What code examples? My entry looks like it was intended.

  9. Joen says:

    Oh, ok sorry—I just got confused when I read

    “if you write:

    Firefox will look fo…”

    I got it to work now though! Killer tip. Thanks.

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