Last month we looked at video that Alex Chitu at Google Operating System shared, showing that Google was testing a new design concept for its search results page. In that concept, we saw Google keeping the top search box and navigation bar, as well as the left panel in place while the user scrolls through results.
Should Google make changes to its user interface? Tell us what you think.
In the video, you can see that the results pages still end with the pagination that matches the default Google user experience of today. You still have to click to go to the next page if you wish to see more results. However, we speculated at the time that this could open up the door to infinite scrolling in web search results, as Google Image Search, which already has this feature, has a similar design concept.
Barry Schwartz reported that Google is indeed testing infinite scroll of web results. He shares another video from Waebo showing this:
If Google moves to this kind of user experience, which it very well could, given that it's already in place on Image Search, it could be good news for sites that rank beyond the first page of search results. Most people probably don't click through to very many second, third (and beyond) pages when they're searching. At least not most of the time. They may, however, be more inclined to do a little more scrolling. Granted, they may have to click to show more results (as seen in the video).
As one reader pointed out in the comments, DuckDuckGo already offers infinite scrolling of search results, so you can mess around with that and get a feel for it. It's a pretty nice user experience in my opinion. They don't make you click at all though. It's more like scrolling through your Facebook News Feed or Twitter timeline (both of which are pretty popular activities).
Google is always talking about improving the user experience, and I think this would do just that. Another reason why I believe they may end up going forward with this is the speed factor (also discussed in the comments). Google has been all about speeding things up lately. The most notable examples of this include the launches of Google Instant and Instant Pages, which loads the result Google thinks you're going to click on before you actually click on it.
That's not to mention Google's initiative to make the web faster, its constant emphasis on speed in Chrome, its Page Speed tools and its declaration of speed as a ranking signal.
Infinite scroll seems like a no brainer in terms of simply making the search process faster. Of course, that might also highlight the fact that Google isn't giving the user what they need in the first result, let alone the first page. We'll see what happens.
Do you think infinite scroll on search results is a good idea? Let us know in the comments.