Just recently, Google released its “preview” feature for Google Instant. Google Instant Preview enables those searching the web to hover over a search result and look at a preview of the web page before clicking on the link. The idea behind the preview feature is that it will make searching for relevant information quicker and more efficient for the time-strapped web surfer.
A Wired.com article reported on the new feature, which became available to all users within a day or two after its official release on Tuesday November 9. The article explained the feature’s importance, quoting Ben Gomes, a Google engineer, who said:
“This is part of making search more interactive and fun and fluid what we want to do is give users a hint of what a result page looks like and show them the keywords in the context of that webpage.
And, according to a recent Fast Company article, it could change the way websites are designed in profound ways. The article explained how web design will become as or more important than actual content. It noted:
“The feature may also force websites to redesign their pages in order to conform to Google’s design criteria: on the firm’s Webmaster Central blog, this is one of its suggestions: ‘Try to avoid interstitial pages, ad pop-ups, or other elements that interfere with your content. In some cases, these distracting elements may be picked up in the preview of your page, making the screenshots less attractive.'”
For those of you who are wondering how to best fashion websites visually to optimize the likelihood of garnering more clicks, a CreativeBits blog post offers some great advice. Among its various tips, the post notes that web designers should be aware that previews don’t have white space on either side, so it would be good to “artificially include elements that allow the page to look wider for Google, so in result the preview image generated will have some breathing space and will look neater.” It also suggests using large type that explains the website’s main purpose, ostensibly so that it will be visible in a small preview window.
Although it remains to be seen how web design principles may change in response to Google’s new preview feature, there is no doubt that this is an exciting time for designers whose work will now become that much more important. Web designers looking for more information can check out MemeBurn’s Google Instant Preview: What It Means for Site Design as well as Google’s official advice for designing sites with Preview in mind.
This guest post is contributed by Alvina Lopez, who writes on the topics of accredited online schools. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: alvina.lopez @gmail.com.