I thought about the homepage, and how to keep it simple, all the time. Yet I hadn’t thought to look at it through this very simple lens: just count the words. The fewer, the better. Ever since that night, this has been our discipline, and everyone who works on the homepage and its design knows the current number: 28.
Okay. So every single one of the words on the page other than the last “Google” was absolutely vital. Let’s review what those other words were:
- more (which contains another 13 links)
- Sign in
- Advanced Search
- Language Tools
- Advertising Programs
- Business Solutions
- About Google
Shopping? iGoogle? Are you kidding me? I mean, we can’t even trim “About Google” to just “About.” (Are the users so stupid that they can’t figure out what “About” would refer to?)
Google prides itself on its clean, 28-word homepage. Granted, Live has 50+ words on its homepage, but Yahoo Search and Ask get away with 20 or fewer words, including words in images and buttons—and they link to their privacy policies in those words.
Let’s be honest—the reason they claim that they need the page to stay at 28 words is because their earlier claims were so ridiculous that they need to stand behind them or they’d look like idiots.