Google minimal design and minimal usability

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    Just contributed to a Webmasteworld thread, 1/4 of all users cannot do a Google search – sparked by a finding reported by web usability guru Jakob Nielsen, 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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