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Should Google Hide Its Search Options?

Google tests collapsed search options

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It appears that Google is testing a new interface in which the search options on the left panel are hidden until the user clicks for the drop-down.

Here’s a video of it courtesy of WebSonic (via Search Engine Land):

It’s certainly not a major change that would alter Google’s functionality greatly. If you really want to break it down, however, I would say that it is a step backwards in user experience, as you would have to perform an extra click to get the options you may want. Big deal? Obviously not, but I don’t really see how having to click an extra time helps anything.

That said, it does cater to the clean design style Google likes. Even today, Google’s homepage has very little clutter and looks very similar to the way it has always looked. Compare it to Yahoo’s homepage.

Either way, just because Google is testing a feature doesn’t mean it will actually become a feature, so it’s probably not worth worrying about too much yet. In fact, in my mind it’s such an insignificant change, it’s probably not worth worrying about at all. If anything, it simply prevents users from noticing other features Google offers, which doesn’t seem optimal for Google’s purposes.

On a related note, Google put out a 30-minute video of some of its user experience staff talking about how they approach UX.

Should Google Hide Its Search Options?
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  • http://www.TheOkayNetwork.com Steve G

    I wonder if they’re testing to see if people use the filters more just because they’re visible by default.

  • http://www.palazzocolonnades.com.au Surfers Paradise Hotel

    I believe they should go ahead and do it. One thing I truly enjoy with Google is the looks of it, it is clean and visually pleasing. As long as they make it easy for everyone to see the old search options (as shown with the dropdown box, which is good)still, I think no one should have a problem with it.