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Ask3D Cuts Back On ‘Search Skim’

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The product managers for Ask.com’s revamped interface and presentation contend their design helps cut back on the wasted effort searchers expend when looking for good search results.

A world of difference exists between the information a search engine can produce for a query, and how usefully it can be presented. Ask’s Scott Grieder and Erik Collier said on the Ask blog that people use a lot of effort to find what they want from search results.

It doesn’t have to be that way. They noted how the first prototyping of what they wanted to do with the Ask3D relaunch took place on AskX. The idea was to get better results to people.

“Their eyes dance down the results page as quickly as possible, mouse cursor flailing to quickly peek if the site on the other side of the click is truly meaningful,” they said. “We’ve been calling it “Search Skim” and it implies a lot of wasted effort in every search.”

As an example, they demonstrated how a search for torch-singing Amy Winehouse varied from a query for weather in the Big Apple. In the three-columned Ask3D approach for search results, the left and center columns of conventional results, including options for tweaking the query, appear quickly.

On the right side of the results, Ask’s Morph technology brings up the more focused responses it can deliver for that query. Concert images and song clips appear for the sultry singer, while the New York results show city maps and local time to accompany the weather information in the Smart Answer area.

By presenting this kind of information, Ask wants to show people they don’t have to skim a lengthy list of blue links to find what they need. CEO Jim Lanzone will be happy if this translates into existing users performing more queries per month.

Ask3D doesn’t have to carve a big slice out of Google’s search market share. It just has to encourage the Ask userbase to tap in some extra queries. The new approach looks like it will be worth it for those users.

Ask3D Cuts Back On ‘Search Skim’
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