Just four weeks ago Google began testing previews of web pages
in search results - an intriguing move, but one which made sense after the launch of Google Instant.
As noted at the time, Instant Previews highlights a few issues:
- First impression is everything. If a website looks, well, poorly designed or simply visually unappealing then that may well effect the likelihood of a click by the user.
- Site design will also need to look good in preview form.
- The preview window sometimes (depending on the width of the site) cover the pay-per-click advertising results!
The first and second are relevant right now as Instant Previews is being rolled out quickly across the Google search network.
Early signs from a random sample are that Instant Previews will not portray some sites in a particular good light (with plug-ins and pictures clearly being a bit of an irritant)...
Other sites do not have the same image or plug-in issues but some pages do not look particularly enticing to the user when in preview format.
Luckily, many sites are rendering well enough through the preview panes and some flash-led functionality on pages is coming through into the search results.
In fact, as one web designer quipped this week, many travel sites may actually look better in preview than they do in full screen.