June 12, 2008

Skip Flash Intros in Google Search Results

There was a time when many web sites were designed in Flash and included a short animation on the homepage, to impress you before viewing the actual content. Unfortunately, the intro was a time waster.

"Splash pages were an early sin of abusive Web design. Luckily, almost all professional websites have removed this usability barrier. However, we're now seeing the rise of Flash intros that have the same obnoxious effect: They delay users' ability to get what they came for. On the upside, most Flash intros feature a skip intro button," wrote Jakob Nielsen in 2000. The animations were usually gratuitous and didn't allow people to make choices. "Many Flash designers decrease the granularity of user control and revert to presentation styles that resemble television rather than interactive media. Websites that force users to sit through sequences with nothing to do will be boring and pacifying, regardless of how cool they look."

Eight years later, Google added a new option next to the search results that show Flash intros: "skip intro". Clicking on the link saves you time and effort because you can directly bypass the animation.

This is not the first Google feature intended to improve navigation: sitelinks and site search boxes help you save one or more clicks and go directly to the page you want to visit, especially if your query is imprecise.


No comments: