I know that every once in a while Google plays with the organic UX for it’s new Google products such as Google Flights but I was shocked when I saw this version on Friday night. While it looks like a basic result for this generic query https://www.google.com/search?q=flights+to+new+york as shown below. You can still see that the city search module takes about 1.5-2.0 organic positions and pushes the organic results further down the screen so that #7 is shown below the fold on a 27 Inch monitor. The impact on CTR on smaller Laptop screens and mobile devices is far more drastic. I’ve included a full sized screengrab so you can see the size of the widget in relation to the other elements shown on the search result page.
What Happens if You Click one of the City Links?
You can see below that any click on the links just takes you to another search result that offers the sponsored Flight results widget. So it seems that this unit is actually an organic Google widget that drives more queries that are showing the Sponsored Search Widget. So this is is a huge list of 212 text links that just point to Google search results, what the hell…
What Happens if You Click More Cities Link?
I was interested to see what smart solution Google might have employed to deal with how to display 212 cities that are offering non-stop flights to New York? But the actual result when I clicked the expanded list was shocking to say the least, it seems like a half-baked solution and the worst possible way to display this information. I have included a full-sized screenshot below to show the 7489 pixels that the expanded widget and organic results now takes up.
Even if you remove the organic results shown at the bottom of the flights widget the screen it still comes to 6221 pixels which is about 6 standard screens high. I really struggle to think how Google can think that this is even close to a decent UX when displaying flights information within organic results.
Do we really need to ask any questions?
Do you really think the “more cities” expanded link is really the best user experience? What do you think the organic CTR might be if any user decides to click the “more cities” link and expands the whole module as shown above? Do you think that this is an acceptable way for Google to visualise this information that is basically just a huge list of text links to other Google search results.