The visual appearance of the Google website is very minimalist. The main purpose of the site is to allow the user to search the web. The design is very effective in conveying this with the Google logo above the search box in the middle of the page. The size and placing of the logo focuses the users attention there, thus the eye to click time ratio is very high.
The Google applications that are available are found in the top left hand side of the screen. They are easily accessible and a downward arrow represents a drop down menu. The only problem I see with this drop down arrow is that it does not stand out from the hyperlinks even though it is a button rather than a link. Another problem with the Google web site is all one it’s benefits, is that all the links are Blue, there is no definition with regards to applications .
The information structure of the Google website is well laid out with respect to positioning, though there could be more added detail with rather than saying ‘web’ in the top left of the screen instead say ‘apps’. What could be even more useful is if the user could decide what links could go into the top left box and decide how their Google page looked without having to sign into the iGoogle. I don’t mean with lots of boxes all over the place like but having a clean UI with the apps on the top.
As I mentioned in the Visual appearance section, all the links are blue so it is not clear what options are available to the user, there is not discolouration with respect to which links are more important or diverse. What is even more problematic is that lets say a user clicks on ‘mail’, the list of apps at the top of the page disappears. This is crucial with keeping the site design consistent. As now there is no way to go back to the main Google search without re-entering the URL. This is basically a problem with most of the ‘apps’ that they allow you to browse to. What is stranger is that the bars come back once you sign in??
Ease of finding information
With the design of the website it is possible to easily find the information and links you need on returning to the website and luckily most of the applications look the same so are easy to use.