I was just looking up something on Technorati and realized just how distracting I find the cute visual design – especially, the images to the left the search bar. Every time I go to that page, I find that my eyes go to those cartoonish figures. They are cute, but I am there to find something, not for the cute visual design.
And what’s with such a busy page? Seems like every possible option (Technorati Blog, Get Indexed, Personalize, Tour, Developer Center) has a place on the main page. Developer Center? Surely that does not need a link on the front page. It’s a search, not a browse page. I counted: there are more than 35 links on that front page.
Reminds me of something recounted by Marissa Mayer (from Google) at a BayCHI talk. They used to receive an email from a user once in a while. And everytime it would just have a number. Sometimes, the number would be high, and this user would express his displeasure. Later they realized that the number was the number of letters on the Google Home Page.
Technorati needs to take a page from Google regarding search interfaces. They should be clean, and task oriented. Google gets cute with their logo as well, but it’s not so distracting. Come on Technorati, I like your product, give me a nice, clean interface to work with (I want something like in the picture above – plain, simple, no distractions).
Think of the search mindset. I am not there to visit Technorati. I go there to find something, to check the latest conversation about a topic, or something else. I want to stay focused. The value is in the results, not in the links on the front page.
If I want to find the Technorati developer program, I can do a little looking around. Don’t distract all the users who don’t care about the Developer program for the very few who are interested. A rule that Marissa Mayer had shared in that same talk might be useful. Put something on the front page only if it is used by at least 20% of users. Put something in preferences only if it is used by at least 5% of users.
With all these rumors of Technorati being bought, I am hoping that if it is Google, at least I will get a clear blog search interface. Actually, Yahoo now mostly understands the value of a clean search interface as well.