Another Way to Display Search Results: The Importance of User Interfaces

SEO by the SEA isn’t just about the event SEO by the SEA.

It’s also about search engines, usability, and the web itself

I came across an topic that reminded me of some of the sea faring charts that you might see if you wanted to take an ocean voyage (I always get a kick out of seeing the phrase “Here there be sea serpents”). There are some search engines that display search results in unique ways. Kartoo is one that comes to mind. Mooter (no longer available) shows clusters before results. The Touch Graph Google Browser provides some interesting pictures of the relationships between pages.

But, I’d really like to see what BJ Fogg could come up with if he was given the opportunity to create a search engine after reading Visualization of a significance of a set of individual elements about a focal point on a user interface.

The title is a mouthful, and the abstract from this patent application isn’t encouraging either. But the idea seems like a good one.

Imagine search results displayed in a circle around the query terms. And the distance from the center indicates relevance, and possibly other information, depending upon the topic being search for. The icon indicating the result is visual, and can have different features. The examples given include such things as how the popularity of a book (on a best seller list) might move it closer to center, or the value of a stock might move it closer or further is a slightly different version, or even if friends of the searcher are viewing a specific site.

My favorite example involves a hypothetical blog from Dr. Phil. Here’s part of that one:

For example, if Dr. Phil updates his web log (blog), the reference icon representing the blog of Dr. Phil may change to indicate that the blog has been updated with new information. If this reference icon shows the face of Dr. Phil, the face may be smiling to show new content has been added. Alternatively, there might be a symbol imposed near the reference icon of Dr Phil, perhaps even superimposed onto the reference icon, which indicates the blog has been updated.

There are other unique, interesting, and fun things that this visual search engine might do.

I’m not sure if this BJ Fogg inspired search engine would produce more relevant results. But it sounds like it would be a lot of fun.

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3 thoughts on “Another Way to Display Search Results: The Importance of User Interfaces”

  1. after all these years i never had an idea that we can use icons to represent the blog updates.. cool..

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