A Sketchy Design

Problem Approach

It’s all about the placement/elimination of the so-called “hidden” features. Through the interview process (and analyzation of searchme.com on our own time), we found that end-users have a difficult time locating all of the features, preferences, tools, ways to view the search results, etc. This will be our main focus; making searchme.com (in the visual and usage sense), more efficient and simplistic/understandable. In order to achieve the results desired, the sketches will explain the approach given, etc.

As the pen slowly touches paper…

Here I have taken on two parts of searchme.com that I feel to be somewhat clumsy.

Main Page

Below you will find the first revamp – the main page. I did not find too terribly much wrong with the main page, other than the features being hidden.In order to eliminate this, I took the current theme, and tweaked it a bit. The preference, tools, and the-like are now found below the textbox. The textbox will remain hidden, until one of the options are selected (such as preferences). These will be saved to a cookie file, or something to that effect. I have also altered the organization of the search bar, as well as adding a button that allows the user to “click” to initiate the search (if they get confused about having to hit enter, since this /may/ not be entirely intuitive to all).

scan0001

Search Results (Bonus! Rationale included! See inside for details)

I have revamped the web search results entirely. After discussing inlayed iframes with the group, I feel that this is the best approach for searchme.com in regards to displaying results. To the left, there will be a similar textual output, as per Google’s technique. If an individual hovers over a hyperlink of one of the results, a quick rendition (with varying options in terms of how much of the page will be loaded- discussed later) will be displayed to the right within the iframe. Therefore, the imagery of the results will always be live to the millisecond. No more worries about the stock results being 2hrs delayed. What makes this more efficient is that one may still search, while having their hovered result (or results) displayed to the right. In terms of speed, the user will clearly be given choices as per internet connection speed in regards to how much the search engine should load, result wise to the iframe. If the connection is “slow”, images will not be displayed – text only. As the speed of the connection increases, the amount displayed increases as well. As for another example of efficiency, there will be an option for displaying multiple web results loaded in individual, small, iframes within the iframe, depending on the amount the user chooses. This will appear similar to the layout of the browser, Opera’s main page.

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More Rationale? You know it! Redundancy? Probably!

By virtue of the supplied organization techniques found above, the user will be happy not to continue opening new tabs or windows in order to avoid leaving his/her search results, and will not have to squint at the slowly loading/laggy/inaccurate results of each page.

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2 Responses to “A Sketchy Design”

  1. jpanovic Says:

    I like the iframe idea- enough so, in fact, that I used a similar method- and the idea of customizing results based on user’s connection speed is a cool idea.

    In fact, I wonder if this could be done automatically by running a small speedtest when the user enters the site. Of course, nothing is perfect so they’d want an option to override it somewhere.

    However, some aspects of this I think are a bit complicated. If I understand correctly, when you hover over the link the site loads- but does it stay when you stop hovering? Can you scroll around the site, or is it limited based on screen real estate? What happens if I want to scroll around the results and maybe put my mouse over another result without losing the previous result visualization? Sure, you have the multi-frame thing but that requires more preferences to set up. And people don’t want to think about preferences.

    Let me tell you a story about my roommate. He’s a smart guy, and pretty computer savvy. He adapted to Firefox before it got to 1.5, he understands command lines, etc. Definitely smarter with computers than the average computer user.

    He also just got his first account with Google ever and has yet to change the settings of his Google homepage.

    The reason for this is that it’s a search engine. Sure, advanced internets users like us folk love ’em. We customize our programs and OS’s as soon as we get them.

    But most people don’t. When someone first uses something, they have an objective. If the objective is to just check something out then they’re more likely to take a look at preferences, and they should be available, certainly more so than the current Searchme setup.

    But these people are in the minority, and if they’re checking something out they can handle clicking a link to get to a preferences page. The majority of users will just want to search for something. They don’t want to be confronted with preferences before they’ve even used the website.

    People say they want choices in this stuff, but they don’t. Not right away, at least. No, they’re liars and morons. And by “they” I mean people using websites. Me, you, everybody. I should clarify that I don’t mean “morons” in the sense that they’re incapable of intelligent thought. They just don’t want to.

    Ok, ok, they’re not really morons. They’re smart and they can find things. But they won’t think about it, and they won’t find things. They don’t want to be made to think. If I go to a new search website and just want results, I’m on the verge of leaving at any moment. And if I have to look at a preferences list and make decisions, or not even if I have to but if such a list is presented, I’ll probably go elsewhere. It’s a search engine. It should just search.

    I want as little as possible between me and my results. Once I’m using the site regularly, that’s when I want my options. But until then, I don’t know what I want. I don’t know what will work. I don’t know if I want will even work.

    I know this will seem pretty tangential, these last ~8 paragraphs, and it doesn’t apply directly to… stuff… but it’s something I think this design is straying towards. There’s too much choice. I know I’ve told you this before, but I’ll say it again: if you give users choices then someone will make the wrong one.

    All in all though, despite all my harassment, I like the design. Again, it’s similar to mine (which is where the tangential stuff comes in) and the differences are interesting. Reading over it again I think I might have misunderstood some of the features but we’ll talk about it tomorrow.

    In the meantime, I hope you skipped to this sentence because otherwise you have too much free time.

  2. lynndombrowski Says:

    @Gordon:
    I enjoy the humor in your posts.

    @Jake:
    Nice feed back, I especially liked “They’re smart and they can find things. But they won’t think about it, and they won’t find things. They don’t want to be made to think.”

    Easy and optional are golden ideas in design.


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