I think the time has come where Google has lost its shine. No longer are the products and services that Google launch breath-taking or really newsworthy in my opinion because they all seem to follow Yahoo’s path. Gmail and Google Maps were a step above and beyond what was currently available, but besides that what else has there been?
Yesterday saw the launch of Finance Google and instead of taking strides in the design department they fall a bit short from Yahoo’s offering I believe when it comes to homepage design, but knock a homerun with the internal pages.
I don’t know if there is a term for this in the design world, so I am simply going to say that the page has no “balance”. From the beginning you get a page where the leftside is overloaded, while the right is exposed with a huge gap and all of this occurs above the fold. I understand that recent quotes would allow for the space to become filled if the user chose to do so, but that much white space becomes a distraction for me.
You are given the ability to add stocks to your portfolio, but you are only aware of that if you take the time to look at the upper-right portion of the page and for some reason the stocks in your portfolio aren’t shown on the homepage. Google definitely has the knowledge to give users the option of showing either recent quotes or portfolio quotes so it is kind of confusing why this option is not available from the start.
Looking at the Market Summary box, the graph changes when you hover over the different markets. The problem with this though is that this feature is not readily apparent to the user. I just happened to move my mouse over that way and discovered that there was a hover effect. Why is this kept a secret and how can Google let the users know that hovering changes the graphs?
Google makes the same mistake it made on the homepage with regards to hovering in the Management box. Hovering over the names brings up more information and the only way to know this is to either understand what the tiny blue arrow means or to accidently hover over the names. There definitely has to be a better way to handle this, possibly with a better icon.
As for the rest of the page it is what you would expect from Google, simple and bland (almost like this site). Not really a bad thing, but on a page with so much information a little more flair would make it easier to read and use I believe.
Design and the Future
Design doesn’t make or break a company when the product already is a failure, but as more and more companies being to offer more of the same products and services or their competition is able to quickly match their offerings, design can easily become the determining factor for a user. That is why I am very surprised not to see more emphasis placed on design by Google to really entice people away from Yahoo or any other financial website. I am sure there is a gameplan in there somewhere that I just don’t know of, but you have to wonder how long can you wait before it takes effect?