EDIT: Okay, I really don't like the positioning of the "official site" result. To me, it should be below the sponsored links, not above. The reason is that when you're searching for something where DDG doesn't have an "official site" entry, the first search result appears below the sponsored links. However, when DDG knows the "official site" for your search query, it places that result above the sponsored links. In practice, this means that you have to look in two places for the "first" result - above the sponsored links and below. Placing the "official site" result below the sponsored links would resolve this inconsistency.
That's interesting on official site placement. We thought it would be better for the user to put that official site link first (it's also in the zero-click info box btw). But it people think it should be below, I have no problem with that.
If I'd had just 5 seconds to glance at the page and then answer the question, "what was the top result for 'hacker news'?", I would have sworn up and down that it was "The Hacker News Network" and there was just empty space above the ad.
It should be the first site listed with all the other sites IMO.
Otherwise it's the "official" sponsored link in my mind. Which doesn't make much sense.
The zero click info and official site badge are both grey which makes them fade away into the background; not stand out like intended.
It wasn't until I read the comments that I realized that I missed the link that I would have wanted, and the results were good.
It's not ideal that people have been trained to subconsciously skip over certain results, but it's something that has to be accounted for. Otherwise you're going to leave the completely wrong impression in a significant portion of your potential users's minds.
The other day, I went to the kitchen to eat an orange. After a moment, I changed my mind because I didn't feel like peeling it. I quickly realized that it was silly to let 10 seconds of work prevent me from enjoying what I wanted, but that is the power of even the smallest obstacle.
I, personally, wouldn't mind the sponsored links if only they were relevant. Of course, if they were relevant, sponsoring wouldn't be necessary.
I can only assume it won't be there forever for obvious reasons, but it's nice to have it for now (especially because of the UI issues mentioned elsewhere in this thread).
This was the first time that I've seen MSN ads, so I did a search for flowers and clicked on the ad I got. I landed on the url: http://ww11.1800flowers.com/collection.do?dataset=11385&... which has the word "Flowers" in the url.
That seemed strange, so I did the search [chocolate of the month club] on DuckDuckGo and clicked on the Microsoft ad. I ended up on http://www.amazingchocolateclub.com/?utm_source=MSN&utm_... which has "chocolate of the month club" in the url.
I tried some more esoteric searches. The search [one fruit a month] returned an ebay link http://duckduckgo.com/k/?u=http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711...
It looks like the "icep_uq" parameter in the ebay link has exactly my search query, [one fruit a month]?
I know you've made "we don't send your searches to other sites" a pretty major policy at http://donttrack.us/ . With these ads, do you know whether searches on DuckDuckGo are sometimes sent to other sites?
Edit: still reviewing to make sure, but it appears that it isn't sending the search term via us. In fact, that's why it is going through our server, to specifically strip out the referrer. This appears to be an optional setting in the Microsoft ad center that sends the keyword bid for that ad.
Edit2: that does appear to be it. If I take all your examples and append ssn to the query, ssn doesn't appear in the resulting URL. I'm guessing they just have broad match on for those terms. You probably know as well as anyone that the coverage in the query space for ad terms is pretty wide, so if you search for something near the head you're bound to hit something exactly. I also tried a bunch of other queries, and since this setting is optional a lot of times the advertiser didn't set it and so their bid term is not send back; this is the case for example if I search for google and up at https://www.google.com/chrome?hl=en&brand=CHFX&utm_c...
I would personally tone them down to just the underline appearing on the result link (where that activates for the big click area, and not just when mousing over the link within the big click area).
I also don't really like the boxes/buttons at the top (they look very much like every other site trying to create a mickey mouse design), but this is probably just my natural resistance to change. I probably won't even notice in a week.
I changed to DDG a while back as my default search engine and must say that I've been extremely happy with it. To hear about an interface upgrade was initially a little upsetting as it brings to mind the recent changes to Google. The preview and instant search features are what finally pushed me to the simplicity of DDG. I'm glad you kept the same clean design and didn't try to change what already works wonderfully. Please keep up the great work.
The divider between the search and drop down buttons should use alpha-blended colors rather than dotted lines. It looks really bad in some situations, for example the :active state on the drop down button looks like it doesn't darken the divider. Edit Just noticed the down state on the front page search button is actually a pixel off. The down arrow also dips a pixel on active state.
The :active state on the more button is missing the last few pixels at the bottom.
The results don't have padding to the right. When a result is highlighted the description text can run all the way to the right border. Also see the "Internet search engines" hover state for q=DuckDuckGo.
Consider packaging your image resources into sprite sheets (check out http://spriteme.org/). There are flickers when I use some elements for the first time. Most noticeably the :hover state for the search suggestions and toggling the plus/minus button. Clear your cache to see them.
The top box has some padding issues when hovering the contained links: there's more padding on the left than on the right, and the first link has more padding on the right than the next two (tested in latest stable Chrome & Firefox). See screenshot: http://polyprograms.free.fr/tmp/DuckDuckGoPaddingTopBox.png
On an unrelated note: I have a hard time taking your service seriously because of the duck branding and the DuckDuckGo name. It looks like you're doing a great job but somehow DuckDuckGo doesn't feel like a name for something I would use on a day-to-day basis. I guess I can just overlook it if the service is good enough but I do wonder if your brand is hurting your service. Maybe it's just me though!
We've had endless brand name discussions from the beginning :). So duly noted!
Your point is well-taken, but I think it's just a matter of normalizing the name. Granted, "duck, duck, go" doesn't roll off the tongue as smoothly as the other services, but I'm not sure that's a critical issue.
But I guess it's a minor concern indeed. I just wouldn't feel very confident using a similar name for a product of my own, knowing that it could be a turn-off.
The golden icon in the bottom left of that image. Something like that.
The gold seal/blue ribbon idea is a good one but may disrupt the very-text-based rhythm of this page.
I would find the results to be fine, and the interface to be good but the fact I had to wait slightly longer drove me absolutely up the wall.
It sounds trivial but those were very, very long seconds. When I'm in the middle of a deep programming problem I need an answer now while it's still fresh in my mind. Giving me 2 seconds for my mind to wander off is too much.
Another problem that I had was that there was no way to sort my results. However, that looks to be solved with the latest DDG interface. :)
Get the speed up and I'll be back!
Turns out Google has trained me to scroll past anything looking like a Sponsored link a bit too well.. It took me a few seconds to spot the "Official Site" link.
Recently I've noticed that I am consistently missing some of DDG's features when still using Google so it must be time to switch over everywhere.
Also if you don't like the colors everything is customizable in the settings. I switched the search results width to wide which is quite nice.
I really hope people stop copying the Google/microsoft "big block color squares" UI strategy. Please copy Apple more, gradients and buttons that stand out nicely and perfectly rounded corners. Things which pop out of the screen nicely.
That said, there are a lot of issues, in my opinion. Clicking that menu arrow pops out a really bland box with no padding and no structure to the content. The "header" text is wrapped in dashes, but the text looks exactly the same as the rest of the text in the box. Like someone else said, the mouseover effect on the individual results is really harsh. The zero-click box at the top fades in to the background, and the sponsored link is intrusive and throws off the flow of the entire page.
I hope you folks keep working, because the progress I've seen in the last couple years has really been great and I want DDG to be a huge success. Search is completely ripe for disruption - Google got simplicity right, but most of their recent updates have been boring or steps backwards. Keep fighting the good fight. And if you're ever looking to hire a UI / UX designer, let me know where to apply. :)
You guys keep doing awesome work Gabriel, keep it up!
DBpedia , for example, seems to have nicely formatted dumps of all infoboxes.
Gabriel, how does someone purchase a sponsored link?
Edit: Appears that this is going through msn if you look at the URL that is generated.
It also wastes a lot of screen space on a smaller screen, especially when the zero-click info box is there. Being able to see only 1-2 useful results instead of 2-3 is annoying.
I've been using DDG for over a year now as my primary search engine, and I like it quite a lot. I understand the need to make money, but I'm going to be very sad if I have to go find a new search engine because ads have compromised the UI.
So what we hoped to do is kill three birds with one stone: a) add in a relevant sponsored link (work in progress); b) generate real revenue to make the service self-sustainable (while still keeping it as minimal as possible); c) reclaim the space on the right side for more interesting interactions (more to come).
We've been testing this for a while on some traffic and it has preformed well with essentially zero complaint. We realize there will be some people who don't want it, which is why there is a setting to turn if off (ad block works too).
Also, the whole page has been compressed up so really it shouldn't be taking much more vertical space. In other words, with the smaller default fonts and other spacing changes that height has been removed from the page rendering it more of a wash with # of results on the page.
PS. I've been trying out DDG for a while and switched over almost completely in the last few months. I find increasingly fewer searches for which I need to jump over to Google, too. Even better, once I explained to my dad how DDG was different than other search engines, he WANTED me to switch his computer to DDG. I predict 2012 is going to be a heckuva year for y'all!
Then of course, it bothers me that I have to pay attention to where I click, and if I want to copy paste text, I have to be exact about it, otherwise I accidentally click on whitespace that will direct me to a result page.
It's just too much "cognitive work" associated with the UI.
Right now the center seems very stuffed.
I really dislike the sponsored link. Its tinting is very subtle and thus it blends into the site too well. Feels dishonest to me. Gonna CSS block it.
edit: Actually I guess I will use the non-JS version (nice!). Never knew about that. It has bugs (the whole result "box" is highlighted like on the normal site but you still have to click the title of the page, no problem but the highlight made me expect differently). It is also drastically faster for me, 5 times surely.
The tinting looks pretty strong to me. I think you may want to check the settings of your display.
Also I am wondering if DDG has a plan to add suggestions to their search. I use suggestions a lot in Google search and it would be nice to have them in DDG also so that transtion from other search engines to DDG will be smoother.
Studies also suggest that we are trained to read from top left.
I made two revisions for comparison
Other design nitpicks:
- the search button is green on the home page but blue on the results page (while the goose knot is still green).
- the menus like behind the 'more' button feel out of place (weirly sized, lacks padding and all). They do not 'flow' enough out of the buttons so they feel floaty and disconnected to their trigger.
On the search button: on the homepage it goes with the logo tie more, but on the inner page all the green makes it look too much like Christmas. And then in testing, people generally actually liked how it changed (a bit fresher). However, this could be a target for another setting.
On the menus, they will be redesigned.
Watch out for featurecreepitis, too much settings kill settings. Much better for a designer is to acknowledge compromises, decide and stand up for your choices.
For example, if I enter "ios uiview " it will autocomplete with things like "animation", "lifecycle" etc and then select the right one.
Nonetheless, thanks for making DDG awesome :)
I don't dislike the new look, but it's not a dramatic departure. And I fail to see the problem that the new look solves. The red bar doesn't bother me, but is there a reason why the search button switches from green to blue? That seemed visually jarring.
I still have it as my default search engine, so don't worry, you haven't lost me as a customer.
That uses our URL parameters: http://duckduckgo.com/params.html
You can also achieve this via the settings: http://duckduckgo.com/settings.html
Best part: infinite scroll. Google could learn something from this (yes I realize entire businesses are built on "getting on page one of Google," but this makes searching much more fluid).
If I can get this set up, then I'm fully switched.
For Chrome, it appears to be a little more complicated. You can use DuckDuckGo for searches, but it doesn't look like you can alter the source for URL suggestions. Details on how to use DuckDuckGo as Chrome's search provider are here: http://ddgg.nfriedly.com/#oneclick.
Just look at the results for "how to make duckduckgo my default search engine": https://duckduckgo.com/?q=how+to+make+duckduckgo+my+default+...
You might want to fiddle with the parameters though. For example, I'm specifying that my country is the UK in the above URL
Gabriel, any chance we could get a "do not include results from this domain" option in the results? You guys do a really good job of carving the cruft out, but I still find no use in sites like Mahalo and Mashable.
Minor comment: the spacing between the top of the page and the top of the search bar is inequal to the spacing from the bottom of the search bar to the top of the content body. 2px top margin to the #search_form seems to balance that out.
Otherwise, looks great. Love what you've done with the place.
Though overall, this design does look much nicer than the previous one.