Making Information More Credibile

May 12th

Site design, site theme, and domain name play a critical role in information credibility. In staying with that theme, I decided to republish my article about the history of search engines at SearchEngineHistory.com. I redirected the old URL to the new location about 2 minutes ago by placing the following in the .htaccess file of the old site:
redirect 301 /search-engine-history/ http://www.searchenginehistory.com/

Compare the new site to the old design. Same content, but one is far easier to link at than the other.

Of course creating an about page with contact information will also make that site far more credible, and will make librarians more likely to link at it and the press more likely to contact me.

Published: May 12, 2007

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Comments

Jim
May 14, 2007 - 11:53pm

Aaron,

Thanks for presenting the comparison. Amazing to see what effect design can have.

The header is huge. However, who's the target audience? If it is you, then the discussion is over.

Your six primary nav links at the top could be repeated as headings in the body. If a visitor clicks on SEM (because he has now idea what SEM stands for) there is no repeat of the SEM text or a definition on the page. There are no visual queues that confirm he is in the right place. I think that those six links should have special treatment in the body text.

Your use of graphics is enticing at the beginning, but it seems to drop off between All the Web and Google. It might add some interest and break up the stream of text to add a few more graphics or images.

Use of bullets, indents and spacing is good. However, I would like the headings to be much bigger. I suppose this might not appeal to you because it will comparatively diminish the size of your logo/header. Making this long page into digestible pieces is a worthy goal. Headings on the original site look better to me.

Not sure I understand why the headings turn from blue to black down around Inktomi.

You could add some useful information in the left gutter, below the left nav to add interest or information. Could just be headings.

David Mihm
May 15, 2007 - 7:13pm

Aaron, I don't understand why everyone is up in arms about the size of the logo. I think it looks very TIME-esque myself. Great job with the site.

mblair
May 17, 2007 - 7:51am

Aaron, I like the new site a lot -- nice crisp presentation. I do agree about the logo -- "history" is a bit too large to comprehend at a glance, which is usually an important component when a page is scanned. I think some impact is actually lost due to the size. Perhaps a bit smaller, but with greater contrast would read better. I really like that you've turned it into its own website -- it's a great history piece and very linkable.

You might want to add something so that visitors can copy and paste site info into a bibliography, etc as I wouldn't be surprised to see this referenced a lot by researchers in the future. A pitch for the RSS feed to your blog at the end seems like a natural action step to close with as well, as many that stumble upon this may want to keep up to date with SE developments.

Dabo
May 12, 2007 - 2:54am

It's a good idea to refresh the old site, except the title/logo of the new site seems EXCESSIVELY LARGE! Someone shoulder-surfing from a couple of miles away should be able to read it.

May 12, 2007 - 9:04am

I am a logo whore. I like big logos. :)

kching
May 12, 2007 - 9:55am

Looks good, I like it!
Mayby spread the horizontal menu over the width of the the logo?

werty
May 12, 2007 - 11:30am

Maybe include your pretty face on the new one as well?

j/k

I like the new one much better. The main thing I may change is that it is a bit wide... lots of content and lots of side to side with the eyes.

Have you tested how it prints yet? Also what about making a pdf of it?

Chad
May 12, 2007 - 8:17pm

I agree with Dabo: That logo might be too big, especially the word "History". It almost hurts your eyes.

KC
May 12, 2007 - 8:54pm

It would be great if he was an opthamologist. His logo could serve as an eye test! If you can't read this you need a new prescription.

Rick
May 13, 2007 - 1:15am

I dunno, I find the old one much more credible. The fact that the domain name is searchenginehistory.com instantly makes me think "search engine spam". Also the lack of an about page and the too-narrow focus also incline me to think of SE bait

Jason Grant
May 13, 2007 - 3:34am

New design is much better than old, but I can tell that you are not a designer and therefore there are some pretty major cognitive issues with the new design.

Overall it looks as though it is about 60% done, which it may well be.

I am happy to help with CSS/HTML matters if you need anything.

Keep working at it though.

directoryfire.com
May 13, 2007 - 4:48am

The new design is nicer than the old design but the logo is really not goo at all. Way too big! Overall I would say the site is OK.

The domain is surely a good domain and is better than the old domain.

Yuri
May 13, 2007 - 5:43am

Sheesh, the "HISTORY" just jumped out on me. I almost closed the window immediately.

Maybe you need to think more about your viewers/readers and that HUGE graphics isn't the only way to convey information? I'd guess a styled text 1/3-1/5 of the size of the HISTORY banner would get noticed equally well.

May 13, 2007 - 9:16am

Have you tested how it prints yet? Also what about making a pdf of it?

I should do those sometime...just like the about page. I made the main column width slightly thinner (30 px) as well...though I am guessing it should be a bit more.

I dunno, I find the old one much more credible. The fact that the domain name is searchenginehistory.com instantly makes me think "search engine spam". Also the lack of an about page and the too-narrow focus also incline me to think of SE bait.

For most people an exact matching domain is seen as a sign of relevancy (why else would search engines put so much weight on it if it were not)?

The about page eventually will come.

New design is much better than old, but I can tell that you are not a designer and therefore there are some pretty major cognitive issues with the new design.

Would love to hear what other ideas you have Jason.

That logo might be too big, especially the word "History".

That was intentional. I am a total logo whore and wanted that one to be more over the top large than the one on this site. Although I am sure there are a ton of options for making something that looked crisper and cleaner and less ostentatious.

directoryfire.com
May 13, 2007 - 1:18pm

I agree with you Aaron that the domain name is a much better domain name. I think that Rick's comment about the domain name being associated with "search engine spam" is not a correct comment and that it is rediculous for him to be judging the logo based on those feelings.

However, I do believe that the logo is way too big and that it is rediculous for you to use such a big logo based on your feelings that "big logos are amazing." In SEOBOOK.COM the logo size works and flows Well with the layout of the site, but in SearchEngineHistory.com it is just way too big and it flat out doesn't work.
Again, my overall impression of the site is that it is OK. Its a clean design and is easy to navigate so it certainly gets the job done (besides the logo).

Jordan
May 14, 2007 - 7:30am

Aaron,

Stop being a whore and start being practical. Most people (web users) have a natural feel for websites and blogs. Just think about what you would naturally do when you visit a site for the first time. I first look at the top left hand side of the site. if the logo looks legitimate i continue. Next i look for more clues to see if the website is professional and trust worthy. For example: an about us page, a contact us, or even other clues like formatting and layout. If something isn't quite right I will bounce! I don't have time to waist when there are ten other websites with just as good if not better information.

Personally I see the old site as a better value. However your color scheme on the old site sucks! The peach with the blue -- its not hot!

When i look at the old site I feel like there is a lot more information and more ways for me to learn the history of search engines or just search engine information. With the new site it seems like most other blogs dry and empty.

Just a few thoughts!

Collis
May 14, 2007 - 11:47am

Hiho, I love the new logo. It loaded last, and at first I thought this looks fairly standard, but that logo turned it into uber cool. Good job!

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