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New images and hotspots
In our release last spring we laid the foundation for this page. In this home page release we've added background home page images that we'll change regularly and hotspots that click through to great search results. Hotspots gleam to the user when the page first loads then fade into the image. Users can discover them again by moving their mouse over them, revealing details about the image and a link to a related search result. To ensure that users can start a search immediately, our base page loads first with the images and hotspots loading quickly afterward. Users on a broadband connection may not notice the two steps. Today we're releasing the new home page in the U.S. only, with more markets to follow in the future.
A great place to start a search
Our goal for the home page is to find the best way to enhance users' sense of discovery, surprise, and delight while balancing engineering realities for a great user experience.
Extensive user research and exploration of many concepts with our customers pointed us in the direction for this design. We want the page to be a great place to start a search and also to intrigue and inform as well. We think hotspots will help users discover parts of Live Search they might not know while not distracting from the core purpose of the page — searching.
We think the new design is a great start, but there's more to come, with lots of interesting directions that we'll be exploring in our next releases of the home page.
Chris Rayner, Senior Product Manager, and Zach Gutt, Senior Program Manager Live Search User Experience team
Beautiful pic - how often will they change?
Looks great (tip for those outside of the US, just click on your country at the top and change it to US to check it out).
Thought it was a good idea when I first saw it mentioned on the blogosphere a couple of months back.
I think it will go down quite well with mainstream audiences, and people who like a bit of flavour to a page without cluttering it up.
One thing I don't like, the "hotspots" don't have ClearType or any kind of anti-aliasing on the text, would be nice to see that addressed in the future.
It's like a double-plus-good version of the event specific logo.
I love it. Intriguing for sure.
Live search is as good as any other. The media is just nuts.
I have a question. I have sitemeter on my blog, that shows me who visits the site, where they are from, and what search engine they use. I have a few dozen visits from Microsoft, and every time the referring search engine is Google. Why don't you guys make the rest of Microsoft use Live Search?
ya know...i'm kinda digging on that whole hotspot thing. cool! good job.
Microsoft doesn't limit search engine use from corpnet; it would be silly to do so.
As a best practice, employees should eat dogfood. In practice, it doesn't happen in this case.
Speaking of design, I have a serious question.
Why Live Search don't open a new window/tab when click on the search results by default? Almost every other search engine do so.
When I was using Live Search first time, I find that very weird. After three or more try, finally I found that I can customize this in option, but even I changed the option, some times it doesn't work properly - still don't open a new window/tab, especially with the news search. That really bothers me. And I think that bothers a lot of people, at least some people I know.
And another thing that bothers me is that Live search isn't very sensitive to the new things on the web.
Great job, though.
That's superb !
Hotspots surely will engage people if they are of exploring type. More people will discover and learn new things. Hope to see these images to be of Worldwide nature so as to cover images from all over world. And may be also Special images on Special occasions like festivals, independence day etc.
Hope to see it implemented world over soon and not US specific.
Now one can say "What you have discovered today.....?"
You know, if you're excited about this release, it doesn't come across in your description of it. A bit more "I", "you" and a bit less of "the user" would help.
The new home page, on the other hand, looks great!
I'm not here to diss, but I just don't see this providing the kind of value that good search results provide. Most of my Live Search experience has been dismal, compared to years of using Google search. Instead of putting pretty pictures on the search page that tell me what I can look for, I'd like to actually just look for what I want to look for and get more relevant results.
hmmm..i might use this page as my active desktop. Anyone tried this before?
Neat! Will these hotspots be later monetized with interactive, rich media ads?
It doesn't work if you have High Contrast display settings in XP. Sad.
So you actually think it's a good investment on your part to work on having replaceable background pictures on the homepage, each with a very small number of pre-defined search queries that likely don't interest almost anyone who come to the page? Am I missing something?
It does look pretty, but... why??? If I didn't go to the search page to look for information about crocodiles, or flyfishing, or whatever, then being presented with an image and these search options won't exactly help me, in any way, to find what I was interested in.
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