While many of us had our eyes peeled on election results earlier this week, Google quietly released a new version of their search results page. It didn't take long for critics of the new design to come out swinging.
As Google shifts their design to reflect a new mobile-first approach, there are bound to be growing pains. Nowhere was it more apparent than in their first iteration of new results pages.
The announcement, first found on the company's Inside Search blog, laid out the biggest changes. These included more whitespace and a new horizontal search results navigation, while allowing for more focus to be put on the search results themselves.
Changing the results pages is a good move for Google — they clearly understand the importance of designing their search results pages for consistency and a great experience, regardless of whatever device a user will access the page from.
Google's design team also has taken a gradual rollout to reinforce this. By starting with tablets, then iterating on the mobile experience, and culminating with the desktop results pages, their search result pages have come full-circle.
Bring On The Critics
In the shift to a mobile-first approach, you're bound to run into issues with user sentiment. Some writers have not taken well to the new desktop search results pages, which has sparked a bunch of interesting conversations on social channels and commenting systems.
The Next Web's post on the changes encapsulated frustration. You don't have to read far past the title to capture how some people feel: "highly redundant, needlessly stark and sometimes useful."
Among the design challenges highlighted by the popular technology blog: redundancy in the two main nav elements and a significant amount of whitespace in the design on some search terms.
Rapid Iteration and Natural Growing Pains
We're not willing to discount Google's Design team and their ability to rapidly iterate and improve upon an initial desktop search results release. Despite no glowing reviews, all is not lost for the go-to search engine.
As we move forward into an increasingly mobile-dependent future, companies will begin shifting their design strategy to fit the rapidly-evolving mobile-first environment. When mobile products and desktop products are brought together for consistent experiences, there will inevitably be friction when creating the new, universal experience for a user, specific device aside.
It may take some time, but we admire Google releasing their new desktop-focused search engine pages to align with their mobile design strategy. We can say confidently that in the end, both the company as well as the search engine's users will only benefit from this design change in the long-term.
Given Google's worldwide popularity, we're sure you've used the search engine before. We created a poll to get your thoughts on the new search results pages. As always, we'd love your input on Google's search results page design in the comments below.