August 13, 2012
Google searching on mobile devices just got a bit easier, as the company has enhanced the GUI design of the results pages, giving users more detail on weather searches, flights, calculations and more. The update injects elements from the Google Now voice search app and improves font and graphics for the page as well.
According to the Inside Search blog, these improvements were integrated to increase the speed and efficiency of mobile search, and to make results "richer, more beautiful and more interactive." Weather, stock quotes, flight information and measurement conversions all appear quicker, while the calculations search feature now brings up a touch-interactive scientific calculator.
While these updates to mobile search provide a more pleasing look to the site and general design improvements, the biggest focus here is on speed. By reducing the time it takes the search function to generate a response to more intricate entries, such as currency conversion, Google is demonstrating that it understands what mobile users want - swift results. Smartphones and tablets are part of a push toward instant information. Users want to be able to pull up anything at their fingertips, and by embracing that demand, Google is making a sound business move that could keep it ahead of the competition.
Other businesses can learn from this mobile development as well. Smartphone users want speed, so an app that takes minutes to provide results will be shunned over one that works in seconds. Regardless of application design, if the app isn't fast, it won't get used. By keeping this in mind, a business can create apps that appeal to its customers in more than looks. Graphical user interface design may center on appearance, but there is a lot in the background that can make or break an app as well.
Results aren't the only thing that need to be quick about an app. Facebook has received heavy criticism over the speed of its mobile app, and recently announced a rebuilding of the app to make it work more smoothly and efficiently. Google also recently revamped the mobile app for Google+, providing a significant improvement to its usability.
Making an app faster is one excellent way to increase user satisfaction. However, a business also needs to remember to implement proper design standards for appearance, functionality and processing speed, or else risk the app being shunned. UI design is a delicate, balanced process, and going too far in one direction will damage equally important aspects of app design.