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Carry out the following experiment:

  1. Go to google.com,
  2. Leave the "search" field empty,
  3. Click "Google search"

I was having a discussion with my friend about how applications should always do something when user clicks a non-disabled button. In this case, there's absolutely zero feedback, not even a bubble saying "please enter something". Is there a clear reason, or is the UX of the front page flawed here, according to the best practices?

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    It's difficult to give a definitive answer unless you worked on Google's home page. Furthermore, Google is the most popular website in the world. They get away with not doing everything precisely by the book because it's mostly assumed that people know how to do it. Heck, half the older people from my country don't know the difference between "Google", "browser" and "Windows". Dec 2, 2020 at 18:29
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    You could argue that they've disabled the search button. And Google did used to have the pointless "I feel lucky" button. Which Google eventually realised was pretty pointless, as its vanished on mobile
    – PhillipW
    Dec 2, 2020 at 20:44

1 Answer 1

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Just a hunch on my part - I have no involvement in Google: It's to emphasize the simplicity of the interface.

Google's homepage was designed to be super simple. At the time that was a bold move because search homepages were like walking into a mall at Christmas: users were bombarded by tons of attention-grabbers immediately.

So given that the simplicity of Google's home page was intended as an aspect of branding, anything that reinforced this simplicity was desirable.

The lack of feedback like "Please enter something first" is a way of saying "this interface is so simple it doesn't need instructions".

Even in the extreme edge case where someone spends a year of their life pondering the mysteries of that form and why it's not working for them, the difficulty they experience just serves to increase the perceived value of the functionality when they finally do figure it out.

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