Google makes simplest homepage in the world hard to use

Google has been testing a new homepage lately that strips everything off the page except the search box and their logo.  That’s right, no “Google Search” button, no “I’m feeling lucky” button, no global navigation at the top, and no legalese at the bottom. Note: currently only some users see this new version of the homepage. And now, a week into the experiment, they’ve discovered that it’s freaking people out.  What do you do when you see a search box with no “Search” button next to it?  You probably wait a minute and wonder if the page is broken, right?  Is it still loading?  If you wait, will the button show up? So what does Google do when they see they’re confusing the heck out of people?  Rather than realizing that their old design was plenty intuitive already, they provide documentation explaining the new design.  One of the oldest rules of interface design (for simple features) is: “If you have to explain the interface, it’s too hard.” 500x_500x_firefoxscreensnapz1-thumb_08 But now, as noted by TechCrunch and Valleywag who found two different versions of the wrecked homepage, Google has included text below their floating search box to tell you that they’re actually doing this on purpose: “Hey everyone, despite how it looks, this page isn’t broken!”  Google: if you have to tell us the page isn’t broken, there’s something horribly wrong.

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