Fading Google Homepage
Not useful, but they knew that.
Is it an exercise of minimalism, or a pointless animation?
Like many people who use the internet, my initial thought was — “Google, thanks for taking the time to add something to your site that makes it no more useful than it has been for the last decade.”
Then I thought of the other billion Google users besides me, who may not use a computer for 8 hours straight every day.
I use the links at the top daily because it’s part of my job. I know where they are and what they do, but what if I used Google only to search like most of its users? The search giant has more to offer the everyday user than they might know — Gmail, youTube, Analytics, Webmaster Tools, Groups, Apps, Voice, Wave, and something new was probably launched right now. The animated links draw attention to these other things.
Animation on the web is nothing new, and most of it is useless (for instance I received a link today in an email that sent me through a 2 minute, very loud journey through space to tell me something about social networking). With so many ways to make things fancy it’s easy to miss the point, but content animations (psst… now even with just css) can be thoughtful.
Google found that people used their homepage more efficiently with the change.
While I didn’t understand it at first, the change made me realize that a simple animation can be used to draw attention to specific useful content on a site to some visitors, without really changing the basic “use” of the site for anyone.
Even if your site is the most used on the entire planet, and you wouldn’t think you need to do anything more to get people to notice all of the extra stuff you have to offer. There is always more to do. More research, more questioning, and more experimenting — don’t be afraid of it, try it out. If it makes people think, and ask why you did it, maybe that is all the success you need.