Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Seth Godin
The New Google

Google changed their UI today. The scary thing is how wrong it feels. Obviously, the small changes aren't wrong, but the fact that you notice them is a testament to how spectacular the marketing of the "original" Google was.

The funny thing is... When I was chairman of Infoseek Japan, we would do user surveys every time we changed the UI, and almost EVERY time we did it just about 50% of the people hated the new UI. It was always big let-down after spending so much time re-doing the UI. I think people get used to their tools and hate it when you muck with the design, even if it makes it better... at least unless it really sucked before the change.


I agree with Joi about the UI research, but I think there's something else going on here. The changes in Google didn't really change the UI for most of the users... but they did change the tone of voice. Just a little. Sort of like if Arnold lost part of his accent or Bob Edwards wasn't on NPR every morning.

I think the unmarketing, non-marketing, whatever you want to call it, of a consistent and almost invisible UI made us like it even more. And so it makes us a little nostalgic when the tabs go away.

I really think you are nitpicking sir. The changes are so very very minute. The restraint they show in holding back *real* marketing powers over K.I.S.S. UI design, is remarkable.

What I find utterly puzzling is that they did this using webdesign techniques of the 1990's. Table layouts! Good lord. Web Standards, people! Sigh.

Very insightful, Joi. I think it begs the question -- are the changes really making the tool better if people don't like it?

Engineers have a funny idea of what is 'better' sometimes. A huge part of using tools is how well people have integrated with the tool.

Well it does feel colder, but essentially I think Joi is right. People don't like change, unless its clearly needed. But if it really is subtly better they will grow to love it.

The only thing I get out of the reaction to Google's minute changes is that people have a huge emotional attachment to the brand. These are minute changes, ones most people won't even notice consciously, big deal...

I really don't think engineers were left to redo the UI here, Trevor.

What we have here is minute and sensible "intuition marker" tweaking. A bit of color here, a change of text size there... move this over here, and that over there... There! Much better.

It's one thing to be simple, it's another to be intuitive.

Whoa. I didn't even notice the changes until now. I wonder how many project managers it took to screw in that light bulb. In any case, I still love Google.

Well actually they change it randomly a couple of time 2 weeks before. I found that they change it between the original and new within a few hours. I don't like the new design though, may be it's going to take time to get used to it.

i hate you all.

2 TrackBacks

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: The New Google.

TrackBack URL for this entry:

TITLE: Google新界面?! URL: IP: BLOG NAME: TOPKU TOP CUE DATE: 03/30/2004 02:36:15 AM Read More

下午查询的时候就觉得Google的搜索结果页面有了些许变化,颜色变的非常顺眼,结果列表被天蓝色的方框底包裹着,特别显眼. 再跑去主页,发觉中文站点没什么变化,而英文站点主页则变化明显,首 Read More