I've toyed with creating custom Google home pages in the past, but I woke up today with this idea.
Today, Google keeps a clean focus on textual input for their search home page. And that's great. But as our screens get larger, the more white space doesn't say "clean" to me, it says "missing." And as a stereotypical designer, I love my white space, so it takes a lot for me to come to that conclusion.
I started by moving the gray search buttons from beneath the field to beside it. I also increased the size of the field and buttons and colored the search button blue as it is on the results page.
The "I'm Feeling Lucky" button has long been a part of Google's history, but it rarely seems useful to me, as the ambiguity kills usability. Here, I'm calling more attention to itself by making it green and giving it a cute four-leaf clover icon. After you've entered a search term, if you were to hover over this green button, you'd see a tooltip/popover with familiar web search result layout version of where that button would take you. It takes the guessing out of the button. And while it may seem less "lucky" it does provide new useful scenarios.
In my opinion, I rarely use realtime search suggestions. While they are home to many jokes when you form a question (and it completing it), I don't find much use for it. For instance, if you were searching for iPhone 5 cases, and you start typing "iPhone 5," what use is arrowing down four times to "cases" instead of just typing it? Your attention is drawn to the list of suggestions instead of completing the search term you already had in your head. (I understand that some people, sometimes including myself, use it as a quick assistant for spelling.) So while you type, you get zero suggestions beneath the field itself.
There are three large, brightly colored tiles beneath the search field for Images, Videos, and Maps. (While arguably News is another search-friendly section of the site, I chose to omit it.) These three result types are most common for at least me, enough to warrant some easy access to the results that might come up from it.
Of course, simply hitting "return" or "enter" after typing your result will take you to the familiar web results page. But after you finish typing a search query, the Images, Videos, and Maps tiles become live and show an image mosaic, a video grid, and a map (if applicable).
If you're searching for a restaurant, you'd see images, perhaps some video, and a map of where it's located. If you're searching for iPhone cases, you'd see some images, video reviews, and maybe a map of where to buy them. If you're planning a super awesome funtime adventure vacation to Disneyland, you would see fantastic images of the park, videos of ride-throughs, and a map of where the park is. Pretty cool, I think.
EDIT: Oh! I forgot to mention. Without typing anything, clicking on those large tiles would take you to interesting images from today (could be news related even!), most popular videos today (from YouTube?), and a map of where you are now. END EDIT.
Be sure to check out the three attachments which show all of these ideas and a slightly modified header and footer too.
Of course I should note that I don't know any of Google's statistics or anything about what makes Google's home page best for everyone, but this redesign is based on my own experience of what I'd like to see while searching for things.
By all means, post constructive criticism, other crazy ideas, rebounds or whatever! Don't post rude comments. Don't be mean to other people. And yes, I've heard the "unfinished" joke about 50 times now. Keep it to yourself.
6 months ago
I see where you're coming from on this concept but in this seems like a step in the wrong direction. For starters, to adopt a layout like this google would have to abandon realtime searches and I think most people would get more use from realtime results rather than a handful of images, videos and a link to the map.
1. That would ostracize webpage results as the primary content people look for.
2. That would assume that the top suggested location for the search query is correct (which many times it isn't).
3. Lastly, this shows the same type of content, just significantly less of it for the sake of covering more whitespace.
In a search for disneyland (http://cl.ly/image/282d2G3X3m0S) you have access to the map (in this case it only gives directions to the only disneyland that exists but if you search for apple it will give you many different results: http://cl.ly/image/351P0e2W261I) popular links from disney's website including many other relavent links from elsewhere and videos. The only thing missing is images in this specific example.
The mosaic idea is great, as is the execution but the original state is slightly overwhelming in my opinion. I understand the multi-coloured buttons tie in with the Google logo and alleviate the 'emptiness', but I feel like this in conjunction with the size makes it appear slightly childish. Have you considered a version with one unified button style or even just dulling them down to a neutral blue or grey?
Looks neat. Love the four-leaf clover, the bright buttons, and the huge text field; it's beautiful and really speaks the aesthetic Google is going for these days. However, based on my own experiences, I would have to agree with @Taurean Bryant.
It's all about color these days that makes products look beautiful. Your shot stresses that — and that's good design in its process.
I like it a lot! I do agree with @Michael Green that the original state is just too much, but maybe if it was just the outline like in the 2nd screenshot with white inside that would neutralize it a bit.
It's the little touches in this experiment that I like. Google has been pushing the "flat design" in their interfaces and I think it's great that you have kept that basic aesthetic but added that very, very subtle gradient to the tiles below the main search area.
This makes me think of a question for you regarding terminology; I would have called the tiles "buttons" but on second thought I think tiles makes more sense. Your concept has them changing to the mosaics after the search query. Was the idea to call them tiles done because they are far less useful as just "buttons" because they include extra information and interactivity?
Either way, I really like the execution of your overall concept. You obviously put a good deal of thought into the user experience and used some great, crisp design to achieve it.
@Todd Coleman I think I referred to them not as "buttons" because a button in my head seems like it would just have text or an icon on it. I guess since this has a bit more information on it as well as being an affordance to a page (just a button), I called it a "tile."
I think it's great to dive into this and see what comes out.
I don't know if I agree on the benefit of the tiles. I can absolutely see through the attachments what they could provide but to me the mosaics presented don't add a lot of value. I think they look great and isolating a few images as opposed to the real-life results page feels cleaner but I feel that the user doesn't benefit much from a sneak preview over instant results. Maybe there's a better way to present the firehose-like results page Google uses today?
Again, I do think it's great you explored this. The idea on it's own is a far cry of what we've seen from Google and other search engines.
A few of you mentioned the advantage of instant search results that Google does today. I'm glad that some of you are thinking about this stuff like I have been. I just wanted to point out two things that I've noticed from my experiences using Google all the time as many of you do too.
1. It doesn't always work "instantly" as they intend it to. So often I see "Press Enter to search," leaving me with a white page until I hit (might I add, what my keyboard calls) "Return."
2. When you're on Google.com's front page, the search field is center on the page. But at the very moment when you type a single character, all of a sudden the field is in the top left. This, whether you agree with me or not, is jarring. If what they intended was for you to see instant results, there could be measurements taken to ensure a smoother transition state or a different layout to accompany either the results on the home page, or not have the "home page" as it stands today.
Cool idea, for sure, but is there any particular reason that the search font size like 48? I'm on board with a larger search field, but the type is approaching a similar size to the actual Google logo in your example. Similarly, the icons and type within the tiles is looking a bit full as well. This would be super nice if those elements weren't so grandparents friendly, ha. Unless, of course, this was intended for TV use and I missed that?
And I agree, instant search has done nothing for me but provide laughs.
Either way, this really gets stuff churning in the old brain space. Wish I had time to rebound this. Very cool idea, Louie.
@Alden Haley Regarding "any particular reason": I thought it looked nice that way, so I made it like that. :)
@Louie Mantia, figured it was likely personal taste. Fair enough!
I like some of the general ideas (the clover for the 'Feeling Lucky' feature is quite clever), however, I feel the huge chunky buttons just don't fit Google's current design persona.
Is this oriented towards a mobile or desktop audience? Even targeting a mobile platform, the Images, Videos, and Maps icons are very big.
Also, do you feel that those three features are the primary focus of Google's search engine? They seem to overpower the actual search function, which I believe is core and the number one focus. Those others are secondary. The live preview of content in those is a neat but again, I feel that it overpowers what the user is accomplishing first and foremost; searching.
@Joshua Tucker it's targeted for my desktop. These three features are what I use most with Google's search engine. I don't believe it overpowers web search because I just hit return when I want that, as usual. Of course, primary goal should be finding, not searching. Minimizing time on searching and maximizing on finding what you want is key.
@Alex Penny Your comment is both insulting and judgmental, which I do not appreciate.
You've suggested that I only care about making shiny icons and not about usability, but perhaps you've never seen me in a heated argument with anyone I've worked with trying to do what's right for a person using our products.
I do not pretend to believe this solution is best for all of humanity, and as I already pointed out, this is my own opinion on how I use their product. It was not a recommendation nor a suggestion of what they should be doing.
Nor was I doing this with the intent of insulting their designers. This shot was only to get ideas flowing and people thinking about it.
I take offense with the image you posted, and I'm generally upset that you felt the need to post this comment as it added no value to the conversation. :(
As I noted on Twitter, I'm deleting comments which I find to be rude or not valuable to the conversation, so I did so with yours. If you'd like to come back and provide constructive criticism without the attitude, you're welcome to.
I will say that Louie does care a lot about usability. You should hear how much he hates doors.
Where's my focus on this as a user?
Shouldn't I be focusing on the search bar before anything else? It's what I use the most, right? Don't my searches start populating results as soon as I start typing anyway?
Why is the search button taking a back seat to photos videos and maps? Is it less important? Why is the 'I'm feeling Lucky' button brighter than the search button? Is it green because I should go there first instead of the search button?
So these buttons tell me I can search Google for images, videos, and maps — can I search for other things? Why is Google limiting me to these categories on their homepage? There's already a search button, so does that mean that these are toggle buttons? Do I click video then type my query and then click the search button?
Why stop at 3? why not add 15 buttons highlighting each search category? Wouldn't it be faster for me to search first and specify later if I'm not provided my expected results?
Would you design this differently having thought of each of the above rhetorical questions?
In my own opinion, your own input in the comments summarizes the entire exercise: "I thought it looked nice that way, so I made it like that."
Sure, it's a fun to make things look subjectively nicer as a designer — as creative people it's a skill we all love to use as much as possible; but you're really just adding corners to the wheel here.
@Alex Penny Regarding your latest comment... I don't believe I'm abusing any power that you seem to think I possess, and I'm certainly not poking fun at *anyone*, so I'm not sure where you're going with that.
@Kris Aubuchon Your focus is the same as when you normally go to Google.com: you type. Searches do start populating with results as you start typing, but as I noted it's not always the case, sometimes it prompts me to "hit enter" for results.
Search button isn't as important as you'd think. I think most people hit enter, and at the *very least*, I do. The Lucky button might be brighter by comparison, which I could see as a concern. I believe you're overthinking a reason why it's green. It has no usability meaning behind it, and I don't believe it needs to either.
I also think you're overthinking "I can't search for other things?" about limiting you. Business as usual. I believe I outlined reasons why I chose these three above.
Your suggestion that I didn't think of these things already worries me a little. It's also insulting as I... uh... did.
You reference a comment without its context. The question was about the font size. And yes, it looked nice.
Honestly, I believe you're being overly critical, but I appreciate you taking the time to think about it.
interesting concept. definitely love the repurposing of "i'm feeling lucky."
but i'm confused about a few things:
1. as a user, where am i supposed to direct my focus? there seems to be a general lack of prioritization that will make my search experience confusing.
2. why so narrow if it's intended to be optimized for larger screens? would this be adaptive to an extent?
3. what if the user is not searching for a place? the maps tile becomes useless. perhaps these could be context-sensitive.
Always thought that google's logo needed a redesign too. Catull is too pointy and awful.
@Alejandro Daniel Velazquez I agree. I'm not necessarily a fan of Catull, but I don't have enough expertise to suggest an alternative.
I like the idea behind "I'm Feeling Lucky", but I just noticed that upon hovering over it, Google changes the wording to "I'm Feeling ______", replacing "Lucky" with words like "Playful", "Hungry", etc. Kind of neat, I think… would the icon change in your redesign?
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