Google Moved My Cheese!


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Why Does Google Ignore Usability Best Practices?

I hate it
when my local supermarket decides to rearrange what’s in which aisles
in order to improve their profitability. The disorientation makes me
frustrated and cranky, instead of relaxed and enjoying my weekly
shopping experience. I usually mutter loudly each time I go to the
store until I’ve finally adjusted to the “new and improved” layout.
Often I notice the store manager bustling about, and I make sure that
he or she knows how I feel.

Frustrated and cranky was the way I felt today when I went to my
GoogleNews tab in my Firefox browser (yes, I still use Firefox, not
Chrome), and discovered that my “personal” news page had been
rearranged because Google decided to change the layout and features.
Arghh! I had my Google News page organized to highlight the topics I
care about the most and my eye trained to roam across the
two-column layout to hit the things that are most critical to my
work-life and my other interests. Instead, Google had rearranged the
layout so that all of my “sections” are listed in one large left-hand
column and the things Google wants to call to my attention are in a
narrow right hand column. I didn’t want the “new and improved”
version right then. I also didn’t want to spend time right then,
re-organizing and re-selecting which news items I wanted to see.
It’s not that I would NEVER be interested in changing the layout and
priorities. It’s only that I’m not interested in doing so NOW.
Unlike a grocery store layout, a different Web page layout can be
easily shown to each individual. So why didn’t Google just offer a
button I could click on to see a preview of a new and improved
personalized news service. When I was in the mood, the chances are
good that I’d click on it and start rearranging things to suit my
current interests.

Most Web properties are really careful when they change the main
pages their customers visit. They ASK you if you want to
preview/play with the new version. They let you go
back to the older version if you don’t like the  new one. They
migrate you gradually, over time.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Patricia Seybold
With 30 years of experience consulting to customer-centric executives in technology-aggressive businesses across many industries, Patricia Seybold is a visionary thought leader with the unique ability to spot the impact that technology enablement and customer behavior will have on business trends very early. Seybold provides customer-centric executives within Fortune 1 companies with strategic insights, technology guidance, and best practices.


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