Google minimal design and minimal usability

Just contributed to a Webmasteworld thread, 1/4">]1/4 of all users cannot do a Google search - sparked by a finding reported by web usability guru Jakob Nielsen, Bridging">]Bridging the Designer–User Gap.

My posts (didn't mention my dad not having figured re URL address bar etc - there were plenty of similar anecdotes in the thread):

Education useful/worthwhile?

Like, say, each webmasterworld member adding page on basics re how to use web to websites? [Where to put this so most users may not see/notice? Could be nifty if links only appear when someone visits thro an odd search; but I dunno how to do this.] Or google, yahoo, msn could check for quirky searches of sort, and results lists could include v brief info on searching etc. A very little like google will suggest alternative spellings when typos suggested.

- elicited zero interest, so then:

So education not just useful, but required, and webmasterworld members aren't the ones to do it.

Google/yahoo/msn might consider something like giving random tips on pages; and a "want more tips?" link.

The famously slim google main page seems, then, ok only if you actually know what google is and how to use it - an assumption that's clearly wrong for substantial nos of people. In another thread, see re google use maybe levelling off - having no obvious instructions is a reason.

was a reply mentioning this, and I posted:

"Arguably, the more complexity there is on a page the more likely it is that people will become confused."

Agreed, which is why I suggested random tips, with link to more tips/info. Another way might be v basic info, and more on mouseover: google bods can surely come up w something; maybe in past, aiming for people who used search engines like excite - not that I can remember if they had how to info!

Less is more, but nothing is nothing.

Really, though, seems to me this is a discussion that shouldn't even be taking place. Google should have this issue nailed, and instead should be chance for thread on how superbly google blends minimalism with usability - for techies and non-techies alike. Meanwhile, other search engines may take note: search results matter; but could be value in having friendlier approach.

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