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.
- NOT display a 10 item “first page”, just keep results coming as I scroll down.
- Let me filter results by subject. (ie. shopping, info, blog, pop-culture, education, forums)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Be like virustotal.com and let me query how the site fairs against assorted virus checks.
- 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.
- Bundle multiple results from the same domain into an expandable result. Eg “[+] 50 results for rubberducks in ebay.com”
- If the webpage is largely plagiarised… tell me and provide links to original sites(s) under the link.
- 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.