Reflection point: Google’s Usability

A product that I’ve interacted extensively with — along with the majority of the world — is Google. In my opinion, the Google homepage is a design anomaly. While many search engines fill their landing pages with brimming, seemingly relevant content, Google remains consistent in their minimalist offering. The use of white space undergirds Google’s clean, simplistic aesthetic but also serves the CTA — the search field — with supreme effectiveness. As a daily user, I’d say Google represents usability unlike any other search engine; let’s take a closer look through the lens of a few usability heuristics to examine what makes Google easy to use, or, in other words, what makes Google’s main page predictable, expected, and usable?

When on the landing page, the 3 design heuristics I immediately notice are:

Recognition rather than recall, flexibility and efficiency of use, and of course, aesthetic and minimalistic design.

Recognition Rather than Recall

Google minimizes the need of user memory by suggesting possible searches based on what the user is typing. This feature amplifies user ease, thus increasing usability, as it reduces the user’s retrieval effort and streamlines decision-making. It also overlaps with the next heuristic of flexibility and efficiency of use.

Flexibility and Efficiency of Use

Google’s interface offers a functional experience to both a novice user and an advanced user by providing suggested queries as mentioned above and by providing only necessary information to the user or, being minimalistic in their content/options on the homepage. Which leads us to the next usability heuristic that Google so beautifully represents.

Aesthetic and Minimalistic Design

The way Google presents a user with only essential content and options remains unapparelled. Ultimately, Google’s design expedites user decisions, fostering a positive experience overall, as we are supported in quickly accessing important information and quickly arriving to the result. We also know what to expect each time we go to Google — we aren’t going to be met with overwhelming content or headlines.

In closing, Google does an exemplary job of putting themselves in their user’s shoes and providing a product for us that is easy, predictable, and delightful to use.