The 'search results page' makeover
There was a time, about 10 years ago, when all that a 'search results page' needed to show, to be impressive, was a list of links to web-pages. But the increasing user expectations and the motivation to provide an efficient way to reach information goal has led to many changes in the search results pages over the years.
The modifications started with snippets of matching texts appearing below each link and the matched words appeared in 'bold' letters. Later we later saw images, maps and videos making it to search results page. We also saw links to news, blogs and books on the page. Also came up were suggestions for related searches. .. all of this in an effort to make the search experience more efficient; the idea is that the user should need to spend much less time to get the information he/she is looking for.
With the industry focus on 'structured information' and semantic search; the search results page is undergoing further modifications. Recently Google blogged that they will soon show a 'Knowledge Graph' to enhance the google Search experience. At Infosys too, we do research and build solutions for engaging visualizations of information(structured as well as unstructured).
Our idea is to provide information not merely as documents; but in a structured form - like a table, list, graph etc. The appeal of such visualizations lies in the following -
They save the humans from having to read large texts (while also dealing with redundancy)
These are direct responses which can be consumed very easily by machines as well as humans
A picture is equivalent to a thousand words
These visualizations are extremely engaging and quite interactive.
And such visualizations would definitely define the next makeover of Search results page!!