Buttons are dead, Google killed them

15 Sep 2010 - 5:27am
3 years ago
16 replies
2480 reads
ptamzz
2010

Hello everyone. 

I've made a post on some thoughts about the user experience and UI handling at google.com homepage following the adoption of Instant search.

I think google need to ditch the 'Google Search' and "i'm feeling lucky' buttons which is absolutely unnecessary with the google Instant experience.

here is my post http://pebam.info/2010/09/15/google-instant-the-death-of-buttons/

Kindly have a look.

Thanks

Comments

15 Sep 2010 - 7:01am
kamaksh
2010

wow, looks cool. i hope someone from Google sees your post.

15 Sep 2010 - 8:12am
Katrina Tempero
2010

Hi PTamzz,

I like the idea of removing buttons, but I think that it confuses a large portion of the internet community that is not tech-savvy. I think it is neccessary to have both, because some users use their mouse to select from the automatic drop-down menu and then press the "Google Search" button. I agree that the "i'm feeling lucky button" is unneccessary unless you are using google like an address bar.

Thanks for the thought provoking post.

Cheers.

15 Sep 2010 - 8:29am
flanakin
2010

but, but, but... http://yaybuttons.com ;-)

16 Sep 2010 - 5:47pm
ReactionGears
2010

Awesome! That just took 20mins out of my day HAHAH Cause you HAVE TO SEE THE END!!

15 Sep 2010 - 10:53am
Elizabeth Bacon
2003

After typing the search string using the keyboard, no one goes hunting for the mouse or the mouse track pad to point the pointer to the buttons (conscious or not-conscious of Fitt’s law).

 

Hi there,

The statement above is where you're wrong (not that I'm critiquing your analysis of how the buttons are un-used when instant search is enabled). For the last year I've been working in a domain where my target users work on computers all day but they're extremely non-savvy and don't use "Enter" as a submit command; they will look for a button after typing in a field. Another case in point hits even closer to home — did you notice that IxDA.org has added a "Log In" button following the User Name and Password fields in the top-line header? This is because of NUMEROUS questions and complaints received about the lack of a button to submit the data, when in point of fact the "Enter" key always worked to log-in. So...that's a VERY sophisticated audience who still needed a button for the interaction to be effective. Waaay too early to call 'em dead, for sure.

Cheers,
Liz

15 Sep 2010 - 12:14pm
Jack L. Moffett
2005

Hey Liz,

For me, the issue with there not being a "Log In" button was that when I first hit the site, my name and password are prefilled. For enter to submit it, I would have to click to insert my cursor in the field and then hit the key. So, having the button there saves a step and is more intuitive, even for someone as sophisticated as myself. ;)

Best,
Jack

16 Sep 2010 - 1:54am
ptamzz
2010

Thank you everyone.

@Liz: Thanks for your inputs. I've some more thoughts that I would want to share with you.

The statement above is where you're wrong

Isn't that statement a little too strong??

Well I din't say those just like that. I'd my share of research and studies on that part. I'm NOT saying that my research is 100% accurate but still I've conditions to take into account, specially when without the need of the button, the actions are getting accomplished right in front of your eyes!!

And yes, maybe my title was misleading; when I say buttons, I didn't mean ALL forms of buttons. IXDA account login button has a function; Google Search & I'm feeling lucky buttons doesn't (when instant search is on)!! However tech savvy or non tech savvy a person is, he's never gonna be able to click on it (google.com doesn't offer him a chance!!), provided he's javascript enabled and fast enough internet connection, for which case I talked about the 'life saving button'.

The way we design interactions affects us, everyone of us. So imagine if there had not been any 'buttons' ever;  no one would have been looking for it!!

My point is, we can and should change the way tech savvy or non tech savvy users interact through our innovations and ideas. First it may take some time, but ultimately let's get to the better option. Just because people has the habit of clicking a button doesn't mean that we should use it all the time.

Anyway, maybe you are right to say "not dead yet"!! :)

16 Sep 2010 - 12:18am
j.scot
2008

I'd like to echo Jack's comments.

16 Sep 2010 - 4:10pm
pabini
2004

Removing the Search button would be a very bad idea. A basic principle of user interface design is that there should always be a visible affordance for every function. Keyboard shortcuts are great for the cognoscenti, but removing the Search button would present problems for some users. It's not like the Search button is giving anyone problems.

Actually, I think it would be more accurate to say that Apple has killed the Search button. I'm sure its removal was predicated on the assumption that people would want search results to appear in the same Finder window, but almost without exception, I would really prefer them to appear in a new window. In other words, I want search on my Mac to work the same way as Web search does, where I can Command-click and display the search results on a new tab or—depending on my browser preferences—in a new window. I do Web searches much more frequently, so that's the interaction that's become habitual. As a consequence, I have to remember to open a new Finder window before doing a search.

The real difficulty arises when designers copy Apple and design Web site search with no Search button. There again, I usually want to Command-click the Search button and display the search results on a new tab. But if there is no Search button, I can't do that.

Of course, I'm not assuming that these same user interactions are habitual for everyone. People approach similar tasks in different ways. My point is: We should provide sufficient flexibility in our designs to support everyone's habitual behaviors. Making people learn new ways of doing things without providing huge new benefits is always a bad idea.

Pabini Gabriel-Petit
Publisher & Editor in Chief
UXmatters
www.uxmatters.com

Founding Director of IxDA
IxDA Local Leader for Silicon Valley

 

 

 

17 Sep 2010 - 12:05am
Christopher Rider
2009

I think maybe some on this thread may be missing the point of the original post.

Removing the submit button in favor of the enter key would be a disaster.

It becomes a viable option though, with the new "instant search" feature. If the search results can reliably appear "instantly" on the same page as the search box (I.e. In less than a second), then the submit button becomes redundant.

Google has taken this design only halfway. They've implemented the instant search on the results page, and removed the submit button, but the homepage is still treated as a bounded transaction.

I'm assuming this halfway step is he result of some technical constraint. I wouldn't be surprised to see it added to the homepage soon.

-- cjrider@gmail.com 773/575-8597

On Sep 16, 2010, at 2:38 PM, pabini wrote:

> Removing the Search button would be a very bad idea. A basic principle of user interface design is that there should /always/ be a visible affordance for every function. Keyboard shortcuts are great for the cognoscenti, but removing the Search *button would present problems for some users. It's not like the *Search button is giving anyone problems. > > Actually, I think it would be more accurate to say that Apple has killed the Search button. I'm sure its removal was predicated on the assumption that people would want search results to appear in the same Finder window, but almost without exception, I would really prefer them to appear in a new window. In other words, I want search on my Mac to work the same way as Web search does, where I can Command-click and display the search results on a new tab or—depending on my browser preferences—in a new window. I do Web searches much more frequently, so that's the interaction that's become habitual. As a consequence, I have to remember to open a new Finder window /before/ doing a search. > > The real difficulty arises when designers copy Apple and design Web site search with no *Search *button. There again, I usually want to Command-click the *Search *button and display the search results on a new tab. But if there is no *Search *button, I can't do that. > > Of course, I'm not assuming that these same user interactions are habitual for everyone. People approach similar tasks in different ways. My point is: We should provide sufficient flexibility in our designs to support everyone's habitual behaviors. Making people learn new ways of doing things without providing /huge/ new benefits is always a bad idea. > > Pabini Gabriel-Petit > Publisher & Editor in Chief > UXmatters > www.uxmatters.com > > Founding Director of IxDA > IxDA Local Leader for Silicon Valley > > > > > > > > (((P

16 Sep 2010 - 5:42pm
ReactionGears
2010

Well the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button has been gone for some time now.

I actually don't like the auto search as you type. I mean it's cool but it feels like being intrupted when speaking... Kindof like trying to say something but someone doesn't let you finish your own thought, they keep blurting out what they think you're about to say.

LOL Someone should do a parody. HAHA

Rather than remove the search button let's ask, was this feature even a benift... did we need more than the dropdown we had before?

Oh and I figured out why Google still has the search button... the auto search stops when you type in words like sexy, girls, nude, or anything like that. I wanted to test to see if google covered their ass on that one. Imagine typing Butterfinger and half way through you get image search of butts!! haha

17 Sep 2010 - 1:31am
ptamzz
2010

@Pabini: Thanks for sharing your views. Here are my views on them

A basic principle of user interface design is that there should always be a visible affordance for every function.

Principles are guidelines. They are not laws of physics that we can't change and which always stays true!

Keyboard shortcuts are great for the cognoscenti

We are not using any keyboard shortcuts here. We are typing the search string.

It's not like the Search button is giving anyone problems.

I checked the Google Homepage source and found out that the code for the buttons are 

<span class=ds>
<span class=lsbb><input name=btnG type=submit value="Google Search" class=lsb onclick="this.checked=1"></span></span>
<span class=ds>
<span class=lsbb><input name=btnI type=submit value="I&#39;m Feeling Lucky" class=lsb onclick="if(this.form.q.value)this.checked=1;else window.location='/logos/'">
</span>
</span>

Now, I copy pasted it in a text file and saved it on my system and checked the file size. It says 354 bytes (the size may not be accurate but let's assume 300 bytes). Now, Google has a billion hits everyday (http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/thoughts-on-google-instant/). Then lets do a quick mathematics 300* 1 Billion = 3*10^11 = 279 Gb roughly (if i pressed the buttons of my calculator app correctly!! :)).

Is the internet transfering those datas for nothing??

Moreover, transfering 10bytes reduces loading time by .001 sec (assuming), then transfering 279Gb will be like the lost of 347 days from our life!! Wow, that's almost a year!! 

Now I think that should speak.

The real difficulty arises when designers copy Apple and design Web site search with no Search button.There again, I usually want to Command-click the Search button and display the search results on a new tab 

Like Christopher has mentioned above, I think the topic is diverting. First, I don't own a Mac and I don't have much clue about what you're trying to convey when you say "Apple kills the button". Second, I think perhaps you've missed out the task I assigned on my post. 

The Google Search and Im feeling lucky button in the Google homepage absolutely does not have any functionality. You will never be able to click on them unless you've not typed any seach string (while instant is on)!! Command+Click, ctrl+click, left click, right click, middle click, upper click lower click... no one is going to be able to ever click on it!!

Cheers

 

 

 

17 Sep 2010 - 3:07am
pabini
2004

To Liz:

Right on, girl! You've just injected some actual user research data into this discussion. How could anyone contest that?

To Christopher:

Since you've quoted my entire comment in yours, I'll assume you were including me when you said, "I think maybe some on this thread may be missing the point of the original post." Not so. I'm using instant search. The feature has it's pros and cons, but it does include a Search button, and rightly so. I don't agree with you that removing the Search button "becomes a viable option though, with the new instant search feature." Removing the Search button would reduce the flexibility of the search function. For example, say I've just searched for user experience. There may be some useful search results, but I might wonder whether I'd find something more relevant if I searched for user experience design. With the current design, all I'd have to do is type another word in the search box and Command-click Search, and I'd have a tab with search results for that string, without wiping out the results for user experience. Take away the Search button, and I'd have to manually create a new tab, type the URL for Google, then type my full search string—rather than leveraging what was already there—and finally, press Enter. The main point of my comment was that removing the Search button would reduce the flexibility of search.

You said, "If the search results can reliably appear instantly on the same page as the search box..., then the submit button becomes redundant." A user still has to complete the interaction by either pressing Enter or clicking Search to close the autocomplete box.

You said, "They've implemented the instant search on the results page, and removed the submit button, but the homepage is still treated as a bounded transaction." Not sure what you mean. Are you seeing something I'm not? There is a Search button on the version of the page I'm seeing. Its being there is a consequence of good design, not a technical constraint.

To ptamzz:

Actually, principles aren't guidelines. I suggest you get out your dictionary and look those words up. UX design principles have their foundation in human cognition and perception. So, until someone reinvents the human body, those principles will stand. Pressing Enter to submit a search string is a form of keyboard shortcut.

I think Google is rightly proud of its page-load performance.

I think you'll find that discussions typically take on a life of their own. It's perfectly fair to raise a related point in discussing a topic.

If you've read what I wrote to Christopher, you'll find you're quite wrong in saying I'll never click the Search button with instant search. I most definitely will. And so will other people. Not always, but the Search button is still useful and necessary. You probably have a point about the I'm Feeling Lucky button, but I'll refrain from making a definitive statement about that, because there's probably somebody out there who uses it.

 

17 Sep 2010 - 4:43am
ptamzz
2010

@Pabini:

With due respect, I'd like to say, you are again wrong.

When I say, 'Principles are guidelines', I had not thought that you would misinterpret it. I did not mean it literally. Sticking to the principles are not always the best solution or best UIs.

We've a purpose to serve. What if we are designing an interface to make it really hard for users to achieve something?? Would those principles really help you?? Or are you going to claim that it is not UX design??

Well, I agree that pressing Enter to submit a search is a keyboard shortcut; would you agree to say that clicking a mouse button to search is a mouse shortcut??

And should we just stop for something better, a more faster search results, now that Google has some pride on their search speed??

And once again, I'll gladly challenge you that you or anyone else will never be able to click on the "Google Search" button to actually search something (forget about the 'I'm feeling lucky' button) at www.google.com with instant search on, javascript enabled and sufficiently high speed connection. Try it!!

Cheers

17 Sep 2010 - 5:19pm
Loc Ngo
2008

I'd point out that the cursor auto focus on the input field while arriving the homepage, so while the button wont & cant be used for its intended interaction - it's there for visual affordances.  

Also, if you enter the search result page through other search channels (browser search field, blog search, webpage search, etc).  There's no obvious call out to perform a search.

27 Sep 2010 - 2:49pm
Noah Mittman
2005

Keeping an explicit "Search" button is about user-agent contingency design.

The "I'm feeling lucky" button has always been more about FRAMING and not functionality. It's a brand promise.

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