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Inconsistencies in the Google user interface

While we all love Google, I’ve found a couple mildly irritating usability issues that have, surprisingly, been overlooked.

First off, from the Google home page, if you type your query into the search box and then hit one of the tabs, say “Images”, you won’t actually end up with search results for that search term within Google Images. You will simply end up on the Google Images home page with that search query already keyed in for you. It would make a lot more sense if you were taken directly to Google Images search results. Lo and behold, that is exactly what happens if you operate the interface in the same way — BUT from a Google SEARCH RESULTS page. What’s up with that? Is this inconsistency in functionality done on purpose or inadvertently?

My second usability gripe is specific to the Google Directory [1]. For some bizarre reason, users are not allowed to search the full contents of the Google Directory from category pages, only from search results pages. So, if you head to the Google Directory home page, type in a search query, then click on a category name listed in the search results, your ability to conduct another search of the Directory goes away! You’re only allowed from that point on to search within that particular category, or to search the entire Web via Google.com. If you want to do another Google Directory search, you have to use your BACK BUTTON. Yuch! Doesn’t it seem kind of silly that you wouldn’t be able to search within all the Google Directory once you are within the umpteen number of Google Directory’s category pages?

Attention, Google employees: I humbly request that you get these minor annoyances fixed. Other than that, kudos on the fantastic search engine!

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