Duck(Duck)ing the User Interface
It must be well over a year now since I switched my main search engine from Google to DuckDuckGo. I changed partly because of concerns over Google’s handling of privacy issues, and partly just to try out the new one.
DuckDuckGo’s results are usually fine, and if you ever can’t find something and you think Google might be better, it’s easy to redirect your search there by adding “!g” at the end. There are other special codes like this, such as “!w” to search Wikipedia.
So it’s all fine. But what I’ve only gradually realised is that I much prefer the Duck’s user interface. And this is for one simple reason: infinite scrolling.
Now, infinite scrolling isn’t always good, and I’m sure it has a negative effect on things like usability and caching, in at least some cases. But on DDG (as I’m sure no-one ever calls it), it makes the whole search experience better.
Because sometimes there are more than ten Interesting hits. Or the interesting ones are long after the tenth. But with Google, you get ten on a page. And then you’ve got to click or touch a link to go to the next ten. And it just feels so old fashioned.
After just a few months on DDG (as we should all start calling it from now on) you can’t go back to Google without feeling a weird interrupt at the end of a page, before you go, “Oh, yeah, gotta click that.”
It’s just an inferior experience.