Google Redesign – Grids for Google Search Results
Vladimir Carrer, a webdesigner and SEO specialist based in Verona, Italy wrote an interesting post on his blog about why Google should implement a grid-based search result layout. Though he noted that a grid layout should only be implemented as an optional layout, it sparked some discussion. Since I’m a fan of grid based layouts it made me thinking about the various uses of grid layouts in regards of information architecture.
Basically grids give designers and developders a way to structure content, so at first glance, it should be of great use for a search result. On second thought though, I don’t think it would improve the result in this case.
Search results all have one fundamental aspect in common - they all are structured based on relevance to the search term that was entered. Relevance by it’s nature implies a hierarchy. Although you can visualize hierarchy in various ways, a vertical alignment from top to bottom is most common and therefore expected by users.
Grid based layouts are much more dependend on how users read the site. Although most readers will start at the top left corner, they are offered 2 choises to go forward - down or right. So where should you place the second search result?
Personally I don’t think grid based layouts are a good choice when it comes toÂ search results, but they are a great way to display information in a structured way.
While thinking about this, I had an idea. A feature I’ve missed many times while using Google Search was a way to mark search results as important or interesting - not for everyone but just for myself and only for this specific search query. While I skim through search results to find the answer I was looking for, I often find various good sources related to my question. If I could mark those sources for later review and go on skimming through the search results, I could display all marked sources at the end of my search result review as a grid layout to assess and compare my results. A feature like this would make intensive research on Google much easier.