If Google is so great at usability, why…

If you go to Google’s search engine front page – probably its most important web page – you’d expect to find a page that’s been carefully design and tested and tweaked to get the very best performance. Every little detail will be carefully refined so that it’s spot on, right?

Google’s reputation is certainly very strong when it comes to usability and testing. And that’s why there’s one thing that really stumps me about the page.

Along the top left you get a range of options. The default is to search the web, but you can use these to instead search images, video etc. The order of the list looks sensible at first, with web the default, images next (and it’s easy to imagine that’s the next most popular option), through to having more obscure and less popular options under the “More” drop down list.

But take a close look at that drop down list. The option to search blogs  is buried part way down the list, next to my tasteful blob. It’s not in the easy to locate places – at the top of the list, or the bottom, or adjacent to the horizontal line part way down:

Google search screenshot

It’s as if Google wants to make it easier for people to find the options to search newsgroups (remember them?) or books rather than to search blogs.

That seems just bizarre. Surely blog searching is more popular and the one to give more prominence to when ordering that list?

But as I said, Google have a fearsome reputation for getting these things right. So it’s a bit of a puzzler…

0 responses to “If Google is so great at usability, why…”

  1. I thought it was just that Google blog search isn’t very good, so they bury it a bit.

    Mostly you get to the blogs from a straight google web search.

  2. I search blogs all of the time. That said, my wife has never. I think this is also the case for many. Also, like Richard said, normal Google results display blog content.

    Personally, I think Google had done a great job for usability. I have actually done two sessions with them as a test subject. I live in San Jose. I don’t know how many people they actually test, but I know when I am done they have a clear understanding on how I see and expect things to go.

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