10 simple things search engines could do to save my sanity


I have felt for a while that web searching is still an awkward thing from a Human Computer Interaction point of view. So I made this wish list of simple improvements that would turn my world upside-down.

10 simple things search engines could do to save my sanity.

  1. NOT display a 10 item “first page”, just keep results coming as I scroll down.
  2. Let me filter results by subject. (ie. shopping, info, blog, pop-culture, education, forums)
  3. Display Icons next to the search result that tell me what I am in for:
    • A sound icon if the site auto-plays music / video.
    • Flash/java/etc icons if the website uses such
    • Warn me about pop-ups, “intro banners” and exit prompts.
    • NSFW Icon
    • Does not support my browser/device icon.
    • Valid security certificate icon.
    • Something to indicate if most people left the site within 10 seconds of it loading.
  4. Often the 2 sentences from the page shown below the result is just not enough. Give me a “more” link that expands a results preview to a couple of paragraphs.
    • If lots of people expand a particular pages preview, then just automatically do that for me.
  5. Let me blacklist a domain from all my future web-searches. (Eg If I don’t like pintrist, let me remove it from my search results permanently).
    • If a lot of other people have blacklisted a domain, give me a warning icon.
  6. Be like virustotal.com and let me query how the site fairs against assorted virus checks.
  7. Don’t make me type in the address bar. Ending up at www,paint.net if I search “paint.net” is stupid. The whole thing is awkward and reaks of being overly dumbed-down.
  8. Bundle multiple results from the same domain into an expandable result. Eg “[+] 50 results for rubberducks in ebay.com”
  9. If the webpage is largely plagiarised… tell me and provide links to original sites(s) under the link.
  10. If other web pages address the page or website I am about to visit, let me expand a section to see what people are saying.



Web searching still remains very much the same as its was in the mid 90’s.

The list I have created draws out certain underlying problems that were never addressed.

  • When I follow a result to a new website, I just don’t know “what is behind the door”. I have to click an hope for the best. It’s 2015 and that this is still a problem seems odd.
  • I lack control over what comes up in my results. SEO tactics dominate what I see, and my “intent” is often ignored.
  • Websites exist in a context. They reference, each other and elaborate on each others information. We need to encapsulate this.