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October 09, 2008

Oooh Google, please don't confuse me!

For long time I thought Google is doing great job with their simple and usable interface. Until I decided to submit my blog to their search engine. Here is what I experienced while trying to do that.

I typed http://www.google.com/addurl/ and landed on the page. Everything was fine except that there was a big white rectangle and empty input box right above the Add URL button. It was the optional field intended to distinguish between humans and machines doing the submission. For maybe 30 secs my browser (IE) was keeping the connection open and trying to download something with no success. At the end the following appeared in the rectangle:

If you can read this, you don't have images enabled. No problem; just leave the text-box below empty.

The first question that popped in my head was: "How come I don't have images enabled? I see Google logo on the top." Initially I was confused. Where can I enable those images? Deciding that this is browser problem I opened Firefox. The same result!... And the same with Chrome. OK! So, it is not that I don't have "images enabled", but it is because your server crashed and couldn't generate them. But why are you trying to convince me that the problem is on my side? Now I was frustrated. It seems the developer who implemented this never anticipated problems anywhere else except on the user side (as normally is:)).

Leaving the text-box below empty I typed the URL and the comments in the input boxes and clicked on Add URL. Surprise! I landed on the same page. What happened? No confirmation page? Waw! That is sooo... no Google.

Now, this is too much - here you guys, broke one very important UI design principle:

  • Always provide feedback to the user for the result of her actions

Not mentioning anywhere on the page that my submission was successful is something that really confused me. Am I done now or not?

Nobody sais you need to develop fancy UI using Flash, AJAX or Silverlight; it can be simple but it needs to response to users' actions.


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