Usability/design problem - Users type "google" in

10 Jul 2007 - 1:33pm
6 years ago
5 replies
680 reads
Mark Schraad
2006

This is exactly the opposite of another common browser problem. That is where the user has the home page set to google or yahoo, and enters the url (www.whatever.com) into the search engine. It took me forever to diagnose this in user phone interviews.

Mark

On Tuesday, July 10, 2007, at 02:06PM, <bjminihan at nc.rr.com> wrote:
>
>This comes up regularly, and we don't have a very easy way to find out
>how to solve it, or if it needs solving:
>
>The #1 search term on our corporate intranet portal is "google", even
>though any user in the company can type "www.google.com" in the
>address bar just a few inches above. We're somewhat of an outlier in
>that our search form is in the upper left corner, rather than the
>right, but it's separated from the address bar by about 1.5 inches of
>graphics and a "welcome message".
>
>This seems to be a problem, because we obviously want people to get to
>google the first time they try, rather than using our search form to
>do it. We have helped these folks by manually
>inserting "www.google.com" as the first search result when you enter
>it into our form. The result is that even if you type google in our
>search form and hit Enter, you can click the first link to get where
>you want to go.
>
>Every time this comes up, none of us has any data to prove one way or
>another why users do this, because we don't have the resources to
>pursue it. We don't get any bug reports about it, and I've never
>heard a complaint. On the other hand, it seems like odd behavior.
>
>On a slightly ironic note, if you type google in our search form, hit
>enter, then click the first link, you would save 7 clicks/keystrokes
>over typing www.google.com in the address bar and hitting enter.
>Maybe we've invented a faster way to get there...
>
>Curious to see what you think...
>
>Bryan Minihan
>
>PS, if you're wondering, our intranet search does not combine Internet
>data, although I believe it should. That hopefully explains why users
>need to go outside the company to look for certain data.

Comments

10 Jul 2007 - 1:52pm
Bryan Grubaugh
2007

I don't really see this as a problem though. I have become accustomed to
opening my browser and immediately typing my target domain into the Google
search box (homepage is set to Google). I just know that the page I'm
looking for is going to be at the top (99% of the time for common domains at
least). I could just as easily have hit the address bar and typed in
www.cnn.com, or I could just type cnn into Google and hit enter. It's
easier, and my hands never have to leave the keyboard.

I imagine a lot of people did it once, realized it worked, and continue to
do it. You made it easier by rigging the results of course. I have to ask
though; does the cursor default to your intranets search box? If so, that
is probably more evidence for why it's happening. People are just too lazy
to click the address bar when they know they can type Google, and get the
same result.

-Bryan

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Mark
Schraad
Sent: Tuesday, July 10, 2007 1:33 PM
To: bjminihan at nc.rr.com
Cc: discuss at lists.interactiondesigners.com
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Usability/design problem - Users type "google"
in

This is exactly the opposite of another common browser problem. That is
where the user has the home page set to google or yahoo, and enters the url
(www.whatever.com) into the search engine. It took me forever to diagnose
this in user phone interviews.

Mark

10 Jul 2007 - 2:03pm
Mark Schraad
2006

What I found were (and this was a couple of years ago) many users that could not tell me the difference between the search entry box of their home page, and the address bar. Many people I talked to had their IE browser set by default to not show the address bar, which caused even more confusion. This was particularly frequent with the elderly that I interviewed.

Certainly, if they were looking for a site that is optimized for search this is no big deal. But if they were looking for their doctor or a local business, chances are very slim they would find it. Go to your local phone book and start typing some url's into google... it is not nearly as simple as you might think.

Mark

On Tuesday, July 10, 2007, at 02:53PM, "Bryan Grubaugh" <bryan.grubaugh at gmail.com> wrote:
>I don't really see this as a problem though. I have become accustomed to
>opening my browser and immediately typing my target domain into the Google
>search box (homepage is set to Google). I just know that the page I'm
>looking for is going to be at the top (99% of the time for common domains at
>least). I could just as easily have hit the address bar and typed in
>www.cnn.com, or I could just type cnn into Google and hit enter. It's
>easier, and my hands never have to leave the keyboard.
>
>I imagine a lot of people did it once, realized it worked, and continue to
>do it. You made it easier by rigging the results of course. I have to ask
>though; does the cursor default to your intranets search box? If so, that
>is probably more evidence for why it's happening. People are just too lazy
>to click the address bar when they know they can type Google, and get the
>same result.
>
>-Bryan
>
>-----Original Message-----
>From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
>[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Mark
>Schraad
>Sent: Tuesday, July 10, 2007 1:33 PM
>To: bjminihan at nc.rr.com
>Cc: discuss at lists.interactiondesigners.com
>Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Usability/design problem - Users type "google"
>in
>
>This is exactly the opposite of another common browser problem. That is
>where the user has the home page set to google or yahoo, and enters the url
>(www.whatever.com) into the search engine. It took me forever to diagnose
>this in user phone interviews.
>
>Mark
>
>________________________________________________________________
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>

10 Jul 2007 - 2:06pm
Krispian Emert
2007

I sometimes like to explain the difference between the address bar and the
Google search box with a telephone analogy: The address bar is for when you
"already know the phone number" and the search box is like a "telephone
directory."

On 7/10/07 12:03 PM, "Mark Schraad" <mschraad at mac.com> wrote:

> What I found were (and this was a couple of years ago) many users that could
> not tell me the difference between the search entry box of their home page,
> and the address bar. Many people I talked to had their IE browser set by
> default to not show the address bar, which caused even more confusion. This
> was particularly frequent with the elderly that I interviewed.
>
> Certainly, if they were looking for a site that is optimized for search this
> is no big deal. But if they were looking for their doctor or a local business,
> chances are very slim they would find it. Go to your local phone book and
> start typing some url's into google... it is not nearly as simple as you might
> think.
>
> Mark
>
>
> On Tuesday, July 10, 2007, at 02:53PM, "Bryan Grubaugh"
> <bryan.grubaugh at gmail.com> wrote:
>> I don't really see this as a problem though. I have become accustomed to
>> opening my browser and immediately typing my target domain into the Google
>> search box (homepage is set to Google). I just know that the page I'm
>> looking for is going to be at the top (99% of the time for common domains at
>> least). I could just as easily have hit the address bar and typed in
>> www.cnn.com, or I could just type cnn into Google and hit enter. It's
>> easier, and my hands never have to leave the keyboard.
>>
>> I imagine a lot of people did it once, realized it worked, and continue to
>> do it. You made it easier by rigging the results of course. I have to ask
>> though; does the cursor default to your intranets search box? If so, that
>> is probably more evidence for why it's happening. People are just too lazy
>> to click the address bar when they know they can type Google, and get the
>> same result.
>>
>> -Bryan
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
>> [mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Mark
>> Schraad
>> Sent: Tuesday, July 10, 2007 1:33 PM
>> To: bjminihan at nc.rr.com
>> Cc: discuss at lists.interactiondesigners.com
>> Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Usability/design problem - Users type "google"
>> in
>>
>> This is exactly the opposite of another common browser problem. That is
>> where the user has the home page set to google or yahoo, and enters the url
>> (www.whatever.com) into the search engine. It took me forever to diagnose
>> this in user phone interviews.
>>
>> Mark
>>
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>> List Guidelines ............ http://beta.ixda.org/guidelines
>> List Help .................. http://beta.ixda.org/help
>> Unsubscribe ................ http://beta.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>> Questions .................. list at ixda.org
>> Home ....................... http://beta.ixda.org
>>
>>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://beta.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://beta.ixda.org/help
> Unsubscribe ................ http://beta.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> Questions .................. list at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://beta.ixda.org

10 Jul 2007 - 3:25pm
Loren Baxter
2007

There are a few key differences:
- The search portal gets traffic
- They get to advertise to you
- They know what sites you're going to

These are all good reasons for the search portal to support this
behavior as much as possible. If, for instance, you can simply hit
"enter" to go to the first result (which will hopefully be the
correct one), there is no longer any mouse interaction.

Personally, however, I don't want google or yahoo to know every
single site I've ever been to - with that info they can basically
know almost everything there is to know about a person.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://beta.ixda.org/discuss?post=18117

10 Jul 2007 - 3:48pm
.pauric
2006

Loren, I agree with your take on the search engine emulating the url
entry behavior. It reminded me of some research they're doing at
Parc
"Transient User Profiling

Our work in the past five years on modeling user actions on the
Web has shown that a great deal of information about user actions can
be recovered from the informational cues processed by the user during
navigation. We call these informational cues by the name of
"Information Scent." We have shown in various papers that
Information Scent can be used as a methodology for clustering a group
of user profiles "

http://www2.parc.com/istl/projects/uir/pubs/items/UIR-2004-05-Chi-TransientUserProfiling.pdf

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://beta.ixda.org/discuss?post=18117

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