Sunday, May 9, 2010

Change is Painful

(click for larger image)

As you may have noticed (or heard me complain about on Twitter), Google recently added a sidebar to the left of their search results. Now, I know some other search engines (named Bing) already have such a sidebar and, in fact, it's not a look that I have any innate hatred for. I generally appreciate designers' attempts to improve software interface, even in such controversial cases as the Microsoft Ribbon or one of the many Facebook Updates.

But I draw the line here.

Google has always had a good interface. A little textbox, search button, and a list of results. It was genius! Even one of those drinking bird toys could probably figure out how to use it. The new sidebar doesn't actually take away any functionality, but at the same time it doesn't do a whole lot. We're helpfully informed that we're searching through "everything" and have the option of narrowing that down to videos, or clicking the little expandy arrow thing to see a big ol' list of things including "updates" and "shopping" to search through. There's also another little expandy arrow thing below that allows you to see options like "wonder wheel", "social", pick a time period to search through, or display fewer or more 'shopping' results.

All well and good, but there already was a toolbar at the top of the page that allowed you to refine your search and the advanced search box provided access to the other fancy Google options. I can see why Google might have wanted to expose more people to the more advanced search options, but well... years of using Google have trained me to look at the spot right where the sidebar is for my most relevant search results and now I am left staring at a cheery 'Everything!' notice instead of useful information. My eyeballs do not want to be retrained, Google. If they did, I would have switched over to Bing when it came out.

It's a bit disturbing, really, how much this slight change frustrates me (to the "I have a headache from looking at this page" degree). It emphasizes how much time I've really spent on Google and how easy it is for little icons, properly placed, to completely distract me from the information I actually need. Some would say this is a wake up call. I think I'll just hang on to the old version of the site, while it's still around.

No comments:

Post a Comment