Google Base Scrubs Its Face

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The homepage for Google Base received a mild makeover in order to improve its usability, particularly by bulk uploaders who can enhance its value by placing a lot of items in Base in one go.

Google Base Scrubs Its Face
Google Base Gets All Cleaned Up

It’s hard to tell what is more surprising about the Google Base change as discussed by Ellen Beldner, a user experience designer with Google.

Which do you think is the more interesting change? That people were missing the “Post multiple items with a bulk upload file” link on a bright yellow background? Or that Google removed the search box from the Google Base page?

First, Beldner wrote about the user interface change, specifically the tweak that makes the bulk upload link more equal with other elements of note on the page:

In our usability studies, we noticed that providers new to bulk uploading would often see the link “Post an item” and click it immediately. They often wouldn’t notice the smaller link that said “Post multiple items with a bulk upload file”. Our testers would end up in the one-at-a-time posting process, and they definitely did not like the idea of trying to add hundreds or thousands of items to Google Base by hand!

With the new design, all of our testers were able to choose an upload technology that is right for their items. The new design also includes the choice of the Google Base API (which stands for Advanced Programming Interface).

The reasoning for removing the search box still seems a little odd, though:

In its place we’ve added more examples of popular and interesting item types — like car parts and filmography — to let Google Base providers get a sense of the wide variety of data they can post on Base. You can still search all the items on Base from your Active Items dashboard.

Of course, Google Base results will show up during particular queries performed through the main Google search, like searches for homes or cars. But a search box just doesn’t take up much space on a page.

Google’s minimalistic user interfaces have drawn some criticism for being too simplistic. As ZDNet’s Google blogger Garett Rogers indicated, there is room for improvement. He also referenced a January post by Design View blogger Andy Rutledge, showing his concept of how Google.com’s main page could benefit from a redesign.

It’s certainly a lot more colorful.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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