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Lack of UI thoughtfulness and completeness with AdSense

Uncustomized error pages, overall lack of polish, etc.

10:33 am on Jun 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I'm generally a big fan of Google (note my profile :D) and am overall very excited about and pleased with the new AdSense program.

However, I must respectfully note that I'm shaking my head at a few commonsense things that Google has surprisingly overlooked.

1) Missing subdomain
I realize that Google folks might have faced some difficulties in purchasing the adsense.com domain, but why wouldn't they have thought to set up [adsense.google.com...] (since there's the precedent of news.google.com, labs.google.com, etc.) Heck, even AdWords has its own subdomain ;-)

2) Lack of informative error pages
Try going to [adsense.google.com ]. Pretty ugly, huh? You'd think that a company staffed with so many brilliant programmers could at least have non-existent subdomains default to google.com ;-). Sadly, Google's other error pages don't fare much better. Try [google.com ]. Given Google's brilliant and much-appreciated abilities in politely suggesting alternate searches to spelling-challenged individuals, could it be that hard to make educated guesses about its own pages ("Did you mean: Adsense"?)? Or, failing that, how about a more useful error page, including links to key google sections?

3) Lack of polish
Overall, even with few options (reporting and otherwise), the AdSense doesn't seem to enjoy the simple elegance of the rest of Google's interface. And some pages [google.com] scroll off the side horizontally on IE 6.0 even at 1240x1024 resolution.

While I've urged patience to others criticizing the current incarnation of AdSense, I do have to admit that I've at least somewhat re-evaluated my stance. Given Google's well-deserved reputation for excellence, I think they should have at least admitted that this is still in "Late beta" stages, or version 0.8 or something like that. I know I'd be wringing my hands if they made most of us wait before having the pleasure of trying out the service, but at the same time, I think it seems a bit overreaching to call this 1.0. It'd be 2.0 or 3.0 in MS-land, but Google... well, I expect better for even a version 1 :)

11:33 am on June 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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We all admire Google's commitment to usability. But usability and sexy design should not be mutually exclusive.

Google started out well: its homepage is usable but aesthetically elegant. As more pages have been added to the site, however, Google has failed to maintain the balance between pragmatism & style.

The latest addition to Google’s site -- the adsense page -- is the least stylish yet. The page balance is askew; the layout is asymmetrical. Left-aligned elements compete for visual attention with centered elements and boxed elements. The result: the page looks too busy, too clumsy.

This inconsistency is found too in the haphazard use of borders -- some are hairline, others are thick – which, along with the general lack of “breathing space” between elements, adds to the overall sense of untidiness.

Worst of all is the extremely thick border around the submit buttons. Talk about overkill. Relax, Google. We know the buttons are there. We see them. Sheesh. (What next: <blink> tags?)

Frankly, https://www.google.com/adsense [google.com] is ugly. Perhaps Google has too many computer science PhDs and not enough -- if any -- aesthetically-sensitive employees?

11:45 am on June 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Google has, as you suggest, been the poster child of elegance and efficiency in the past.

Given your comments about AdSense (and my similar comments [webmasterworld.com] echoed in another thread posted this evening), I'm curious to have some names thrown out of other companies that have managed to expertly mold style and function... pages that look nice, work great.

Amazon.com? Nah, not really. Way too cluttered.
Yahoo? : snort :
Perhaps popular Bay Area portal CraigsList.org? Hmm.
Is there any site we can point to and say: Hey, Google, take lessons from those folks, and specifically with regards to these areas...?


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