Jon Wiley, Google's lead designer for search, says that the new search design improves “readability and creates an overall cleaner look“, while the new design for Google AdWords is “making the multi-device experience more consistent.“ There is no doubt that the ads have a more consistent look across the different platforms but is consistency really the only motivation behind Google's redesign? It seems unlikely. The reality is that Search results and Serving ads based on those search results are Google's bread & butter. Would Google redesign these two vital factors, just for the purposes of consistency? Hardly.
As EyeQuaint suggest on their blog(link is external), there just might be a very subtle work of evil genius design going on.
I have lost count of the number of people who told me that "Oh I never Click on those Google Ads", so maybe it makes a certain amount of sense for Google's new redesign to make the paid results look just a little bit more like the real or organic search results. If you look at this comparison graphic you can see that the new ads definitely blend in more with the organic search results then the old designs did:
Not a massive difference you would think. There is a very slight increase in the font size of the ads, the font itself now has a higher contrast, it is now a blue and black ad on a white background, rather then blue and black on a pink colour, making the ad stand out a bit more. The yellow Ad logo is much more subtle then the previous outline box.
Will these small design tweaks make any difference?
Well the lads over at EyeQuaint(link is external) ran their eye-tracking behaviour testing software over the new result page compared to the same results page on the old design and here are the results, the top 3 ads in each example are outlined with a pink box:
As you can see from this heat map, the top 3 Google ads returned in the new design generate a lot more clicks then the previous design did, especially the number one ranked ad.
A very, very clever bit of subtle redesigning by the design team at Google, but then what else would you expect from the world largest search engine!
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