Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Technorati Redesign

I've been a member of Technorati since September of 2004. And I have always thought that Technorati was the best blog search on the Web, even after the introduction of Google's blog search. The past few days saw them introduce a redesign of their website. And I must admit that I have very mixed feelings about it.

The new design certainly looks snazzier than the old one. And it is fairly easy to navigate. I can't say it's a dramatic improvement over the old design, but it is certainly better.

That having been said, there are other things that I dislike about the redesign. One of them is the ticker at the top of the page, which displays various subjects being written about in various blogs. To me the ticker is just annoying. And it's not particularly useful.

While the ticker is annoying, it is not my major complaint about the new design. That would be Technorati's introduction of what they call an "everything in the known universe" search. Whereas in the past when one performed a search from the Technorati homepage, it delivered results from various blog posts, now it delivers results from blog posts, visual media, and audio. According to the Technorati blog, the need for this "everything in the known universe" search grew out of the fact that the Web has changed and there are now different types of user generated content than there was a few years ago. This includes video, pictures, audio, games, and so on. To be of service to its users, then, Technorati introduced its "everything in the known universe" search.

Perhaps unfortunately, I am one of those people who uses Technorati to search blogs. I really am not interested in searching for videos and pictures, and on those rare occasions when I am, I tend to use Google. I rather suspect that most of Techorati's core users are people like myself who use it to search blogs. I then think that it is a big mistake on Technorati's part to not have a blog search on their homepage. Okay, they still have a search for blogs alone (you can find it here), but there isn't a link to it on the homepage. To me this is hardly a suitable solution.

While I can understand why Technorati developed their "everything in the known universe" search, I think they really should have kept the blog search on their homepage. Indeed, I think perhaps their best bet would have been to follow Yahoo's lead. On both the Yahoo homepage, one can search for web sites, images, video, and so on. One just clicks on the category one wants to search and then types in the search terms. Technorati could have done the same thing, setting it up so that one can search for blogs, visual media, audio, or "everything in the known universe" from the homepage. In this way they would appeal to new users, while not alienating their core users.

At any rate, I certainly won't stop using Technorati, although I will probably be visiting the homepage less (I'll being using the blog search instead). As a long term member and user of Technorati, I wish they would make it so one can search for blogs from the homepage again. And I hope they do away with that ticker!

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