In all seriousness, the name is pretty horrible and I "feel" as if I am using a website, not a tool. Google feels like a tool - I get in an out quickly, it doesn't invade my flow. Your application (and others, like Mahalo) are so visually invasive I would never use them, no matter the results that we returned.
Not really a design thing - although it stems from the design - more like a workflow thing... I dunno, hard to describe.
Duck Duck Go's site says it was in development for about a year. If it was indeed built on top of BOSS, the developer must've spent 10 months doing pretty much nothing.
I would be interested to know what specific design elements you think are contributing to this problem. I know you said it isn't really a design problem, but there has to be more to say about it :) Colors? The results on the right?
That said, the results are very good, the classification by topic well done, and the small descriptions are a good alternative to the usual SERP extracts. I had troubles with queries typed in French (It turned mostly results in English), but I assume you're focusing on the English language at the moment.
Besides, the layout is clean and unobtrusive. I agree with axod and aroxwell regarding caching (one "batch" of results ahead should be enough)and pagination, and with ambulatorybird regarding the length and lack of fluidity of the name. At least one these characteristics should be dropped.
Edit: rearranged stuff.
I think that would be a good place to start - once you do that you may find that the mouseovers are distracting or jump around way to much now that your line-heights are smaller. Jury seems to be out on those, personally I'm not a fan but enough people said they do like them that it's a questionable change.
I think limiting the use of mouseovers could be valuable. By making off-site links (the actual SERPs) not have a mouseover while making in-site links (narrowing of categories, the more... link to activate BOSS, etc) could offer a subconcious identifier to your users as to what the next action will actually do.
Otherwise, though, just playing around, this seems like a really nice search engine, the results seem great. If I didn't think it had a lot of promise, I wouldn't have posted a critique.
Works for me.
Your UI isn't great, though. Some unordered points:
• Your name is bad.
• Your text is too big.
• The whole thing feels too unprofessional.
• You need to show more search results by default. Four results feels claustrophobic. People won't get overwhelmed, they've been living with long results lists for ten years.
• You need to make the traditional ordered list of results distinct from the other pieces of information that your search engine thinks are relevant. Right now it can be hard to distinguish results from extras, and I think that will be an impediment to getting users (if getting users is in fact your goal). In particular, don't put the topic-filtering questions above the results — put them to the side.
• Don't highlight the result that I'm mousing over.
• Get rid of the little arrows next to links.
Actually, I'd suggest going to Google, writing down every difference between their UI and yours, and asking yourself why you did it differently. I don't think the Google UI is necessarily the ultimate way to present search results, but I don't think you've added much, either, and theirs is pretty damn good.
Technology: right now your search engine doesn't seem to understand that recent events are more important, typically, than past ones; a search for "explanation of the economic crisis" didn't produce anything in the top four results (although the fifth one, ironically, was relevant). Google gave me what I was looking for (although it's notable that if I hadn't been looking for stuff about the current crisis, your engine would have been better).
The text is exactly right for a different way of looking at search results - like a little generated topical page rather than like a list of links.
Unprofessional is good! Professional = boring. Altavista was "professional".
Four good results is enough.
You aren't getting the whole "looks like a topical page" thing. The mixed sources of results are evidently nondistinct for a reason!
Yeah, the highlight is annoying. Breaks the unified flow.
Arrows are hints evidently copied from Wikipedia. It goes with the design and it's a visual hint they link off-site. Makes sense to me! Moreover, it made such immediate visual sense i didn't even see them as distinct elements until you described them.
What's with the Wink and PeopleFinder links? Partnerships? They're almost never what I want, and putting them up top is distracting.
The AJAX-load-more-results-on-scroll feature is cool, but I found it a little jerky and distracting. This could be because just hold down the down arrow, so I go really fast and often hit the end of the page while it's loading. Any way to make the transition a little smoother, maybe by preloading results and only displaying them as you scroll, maybe by a fade or slide transition?
Although it might help the service get more credibility by mentioning that Yahoo results are also used.
Definitely, because you have many more types of links than a normal search engine--some of them are requests for clarification. A URL tells the user "This is a 'hit' that will take you to a different website".
It definitely passed my vanity test. I searched on several things I associate with myself and the results were all accurate. Definitely some things left out, but everything shown was good.
Some of the comments others have made about the visual design are half-correct. The helvetica font hurts readability. I'm on a Mac and Windows XP machines side-by-side and its almost blurry. You can't beat Verdana or Arial for readability.
The color scheme is a little odd, mainly for the logo. If you get successful, invest in having a logo professionally designed, but that shouldn't be a focus now.
Keep the ajaxy stuff. Loved it. The "More Topics" bit is perfect.I don't have to click through page after page of pagination to scroll results like on Google. You show me a small set of relevant matches, then if I want more I just click that and there's some more. Very easy to use.
Overall I think you're off to a great start.
1. I disliked the name
2. The design was bad. Huge textbox, ugly duck, everything seems scattered around
3. I think I liked the ajaxy interface and the more links, however I would have liked more results in every category (images, news etc) before I had to press "more"
Overall excellent work.
Seems to give some good results back in a useful way.
1) When you click 'more results' add a divider before the first new result to make it clear which new results just appeared. In most cases the first new link will already be highlighted since the mouse will be hovering overy it but any antsy mouser will not have this benefit.
Also, I notice that I have the tendency (and need) to move the mouse off the first new link so I can read it. This is very inefficient so it would best to append the new results one line below the 'more links' link.
2) Consider adding an auto-scroll to put the first new result at the top or middle of the page to reduce scrolling. This may be disruptive, however.
I can't explain exactly why it is annoying as currently implemented, but it is. Somehow, the more results thing needs to be more "fluid". Maybe make the interface more like regular pagination, but just add the results to the bottom of the same page?
(Give a search for "pearl" a go for a good example.)
The result layout needs some work, mostly to make long results easier to scan, but I will probably carry on using this provided I can remember the URL.
pretty interesting functionality - i like how vague searches ask for categorization. i searched a band name and got specific info and links.
but most searches produce way too little broad results.
interesting but needs more work i'd say.
Unlike most, I'd be prepared to give it another go at some future date though - so this definitely has some potential. I hope the developer keeps on working on this.
I'm sure there's more to it than that, but very clever.
The fact that everyone is commenting on the design is a good sign, that stuff is easy to change.
There are all sorts of issues with current search, most of which have been discussed on this forum elsewhere. Relevancy is certainly one of them, but there are others too, e.g. spam, clutter, discovery, and UI.
About your application, I think the name of the search engine is really awkward. And, the logo is really too colorful. It seems like a side-project more than a serious project. Anyway, it displayed the results that I expected.
Name suggestion - start the name with "go", something like "GoDuckDuck" or "GoodSearch" or something much better than that. That way, as people start typing "google", your site shows up in the autocomplete list in the browser and would remind people about your site at the moment they are looking to search for something.
Plus it takes balls to venture into a space that's dominated by the mighty Google :-)
* The name sucks - especially the "go" at the end. "Duck duck" I can live with. "Duck duck go" somehow doesn't feel right.
* Fonts/Colors etc - I really wouldn't worry about it. People get used to almost anything once they get good enough results. The hue and cry at reddit when the new version came out is proof enough of that. A few months on everyone has forgotten completely what the old version looked like and it hasn't hurt them any.
Heck, when Google came out their interface wasn't anything to sing and dance about. But now everyone thinks it the bee's knees and the cat's whiskers :-D. Just get good results and worry about the font/logo/colors some other day.
* For a few searches, the results were impressive and I liked the flow (I searched for "Haskell" and "Dragonfly" (the movie) plus my name etc).
I was really getting into it when my search for "Indian Recipes" returned recipes from Karnataka. The "more links" didn't seem to return very good results either. I had to go back to Google (which returned really good results).
* URL's of results - This is another big one. The way the URL's are currently returned is really bad - it looks like part of the text and is difficult to quickly scan for. It's really important for most users to be able to quickly scan the urls of the results. In your current interface we have to depend on the title, which is not half as useful.
Overall - it's a great job! I'm VERY impressed.
All the best!
I was wondering... to the extent that Duck Duck Go takes its cues from "human powered" sites e.g. Wikipedia, are you using a pre-defined list of reliable user-generated sites out there, or is your search engine somehow identifying these algorithmically?
My search: "NeoSmart Technologies"
On Wikipedia this redirects to our main product, "EasyBCD," which is what DuckDuck returned...
But really, really nice ideas going on there, it's very information-centric verses link-centric, sort of like a powerset that works.
made me laugh.
Now that I know it I see that you ask me to choose a topic, but I totally didn't see it the first time.
Perhaps you could do s.th to the topic links to make it more clear for first time users that they bring you so to a search for that topic.
some other thoughts:
-Yes the font is too big first, but after using it a bit I actually like it..
-Yes the name is awful first but "duck duck it" is great and I just added it to my firefox searches :)
Congratulations! You took a freakin duck and did the unimaginable and beat google with it!
Search results were relevant when I tried "how to make a damascus blade". When I tried to find a story I've been looking for (that I haven't been able to find in other search engines either), I wasn't successful, although I didn't try for very long. Things I'd like to be able to search for: it was linked to from a forum but was not, itself on a forum; near the beginning the main character was hit by a truck; he woke up and found that his life had been a simulation.
So if your search engine would let me find that, I'd be sold. As a general purpose search engine, it looks promising but I'll stick to Google for now.
Is this a serious attempt to beat google?
Do you index the whole web?
What technique do you use?
Or is it a proof of concept for some idea of how to improve search?
Do you have funding?
Have you built it from scratch or are you building on top of other stuff?
The presentation isn't great. So with some improvements in the design and a marketing machine, this could be big.
I do agree with the others that the UI could be done a little better, including the colors (a little too vibrant for me) and the name. I don't really care about the home page, since I dont remember the last time I went to Google's homepage.
Once I like a search engine that consistently gives me good results, using FF's Keyword search is the way to go.
All in all, great work, and I certainly wish you luck.
The hits in a disambiguated topic after the first page need some work. Many in the wrong topics. But still, not bad for a beginning.
I suggest duckduck.com instead of duckduckgo.com.
The flashy logo page might be the only reason some people use it. They'll like the fact that they can show off that they have found a different tool. But that's just a small set of certain types of people. Me, I'd prefer a simple tool that takes up less space and is less flashy.
Also, my search results were quite relevant. I'd reduce the font size a bit, and maybe lose the styling on the search button.
Good for a first try.
Would love to know more, like if you do crawl everything yourself... :)
Just my 2 cents. Keep up the great work!
All in all very impressed, I wish you the very best of luck and have bookmarked and will continue to use. (Remember to keep Hacker News updated with any new developments!).
I'm also a big fan of commands on the line: "define word" should define it, and so forth. That can potentially be a next step.
I got decent results, but for a small number of search terms:
When I searched for:
"com surrogate encountered a problem"
I got decent results, but when I searched for
"com surrogate encountered a problem norton ghost"
the results were off completely.
I then tried the second search query with google and got precise results.
We switched to Google from Yahoo, Alta Vista and the rest because Google was better. What do you have?
It's not that you aren't good, it's just that you aren't great- there's nothing here that would make me want to purposefully break a habit formed over the past seven odd years. Namely, using Google.
After much Googling the closest I could come to finding the article was here (at the bottom): http://www.internetnews.com/dev-news/article.php/3601751
Here's one not-so-nice search, however:
See other searches to get an idea of what you're missing:
duck duck go it!
In all seriousness, I like the way you're going, but I didn't like the way the results are laid out - it just looked sloppy to me.
The search button is way too big. The text is too big. Shrink everything and fit more information on one page.
Maybe include some "Web links" on every page. Then right align the "More topics" and "More Web links" to the right so people know they're not ordinary links, but instead offer additional functionality.
Overall, I really like it. It looks like you lift a lot of information and links from wikipedia. I think this is a great idea.
I don't like the name that much. Your project is promising, I suggest to invest into better name while you are not that well know.
Anyway, you are great.
if the first page doesn't have what i want, i find myself confused as to what my next course of action should be.
my first reaction to all the ajax stuff is "hey, thats kind of cool" my second reaction is "my expections about what should happen when i move my mouse (mostly nothing) are being violated! help!"
in summary: i think you need to do some real usability studies.
Good Job anyways!
okay, Here's the first thing I tried, because I was actually looking for it:
try to search for: "mashable wordpress theme" ... FAIL!
you took me to search the mashable site for "wordpress theme" tags, which returned nothing.
however, when I searched "wordpress theme" ... SUCCESS, kinda.
What I was looking for displayed on the right, in recent news.
It's okay. I think something definitely needs to be improved here.
Hope that helps.
But I am not a fan of the design or the name.
I found that confusing. Just say Google. Also you could use Yahoo BOSS to pull in results when you dont have any (if thats allowed)
Duck Duck Google is a remnant of earlier functionality that is currently not live. You're right, Google' is simpler than 'Duck Duck Google'.
do email me at email@example.com if you are interested in more thoughts on how use cases can be more clear!
On the other hand, Im having the same thoughts as trominos(Scroll down). See what he said about it.
I don't see any attribution..? (e.g. 'swarmware')
at http://www.seekng.com (and my others) I allow explicit selection, and model the SearchProvider (connecting to search results memes in a graph)
I'm just curious myself about the legalities
- I think companies like octopart, that are doing segmented search have a better chance.
The hits are dead on for obscure subjects.
Keyboard shortcuts: → ← ↑ ↓, Enter (go), n (news), i (images), r (related topics), h j k l (arrow alts.), and / (search box).
Are these sponsored links or something? I'm not sure I dig it.