Nice highlights from Alan Williamson include..
1. The prime reason the Google home page is so bare is due to the fact that the founders didn’t know HTML and just wanted a quick interface. Infact it was noted that the submit button was a long time coming and hitting the RETURN key was the only way to burst Google into life.
2. Due to the sparseness of the homepage, in early user tests they noted people just sitting looking at the screen. After a minute of nothingness, the tester intervened and asked ‘Whats up?’ to which they replied “We are waiting for the rest of it”. To solve that particular problem the Google Copyright message was inserted to act as a crude end of page marker.
3. The infamous “I feel lucky” is nearly never used. However, in trials it was found that removing it would somehow reduce the Google experience. Users wanted it kept. It was a comfort button.
4. Gmail was used internally for nearly 2years prior to launch to the public. They discovered there was approximately 6 types of email users, and Gmail has been designed to accommodate these 6.
Full notes are HERE.