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Google has announced that to make it faster and easier for users to find what they are looking for, a major visual redesign of Google’s mobile search results is to be rolled out shortly.

Challenges

Some of the challenges that Google has tried to address with the new changes are the diversity in the types of content and information that it now must categorise and how this affects a person’s ability to find what they are looking for with the existing/old format, e.g. too much clutter at the top, mixed media and font sizes.

Changes

Some of the visual changes in the new mobile search engine results layout, championed by Google designer Aileen Cheng, include:

– Making text easier to read due to larger, bolder text, including more of Google’s own font, and making the result and section titles bigger.

– Putting more of the text information at the top and reducing the distraction of design elements around it.

– Creating more visual space / “breathing room” to make the results more central by using an edge-to-edge results design.

– Using more bold colours to highlight important elements as well as centre-aligning content and images against a clean background.

– Borrowing more from the branding by using more rounded icons and imagery.

– Generally refreshing the design elements whilst retaining familiarity and approachability.

Series of Re-Designs

Back in February 2020, Google marked the 15th anniversary of Google Maps by making changes to the Google Maps logo.  The map cut-out icon was replaced with a simpler navigation pin which was made up of colours that reflected the main Google logo.

Also, in October 2020, Google previewed a new icon for Gmail which some people at the time thought was an indication of more design changes to come. The more simplified multi-coloured M on a plain background was reported to be part of a wider G-Suite re-brand and as a way of showing the integration of many products that started years ago as individual apps.  The design change was a way of creating a consistent and simple look in Google Workspace i.e., the place where all Google’s productivity apps were visibly grouped, such as Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, and Sheets.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

With most Google searches now conducted on mobile devices and with a huge variety as well as volume of content now part of Google’s search, it makes sense that Google would want to make changes that make things more friendly for users.  Google has been undertaking a general move anyway over the last year to visually represent the integration of the many products that it has built up over many years.  It may make sense, therefore, that its core search product is next for the treatment.  Google is also under pressure from various governments over requests to pay publishers to show links to their news content its search engine results.  It is perhaps not surprising, therefore, that with its SERPs under so much scrutiny, Google would want to go on a charm offensive and ensure its products are looking their best. Mostly though, these relatively small design changes mark Google updating and integrating as it moves into an era where it has become more important than ever to home-workers and businesses that have undergone digital transformations and rely much more on Google’s products to help them function and compete in the more chaotic pandemic business environment.