Google Beats FIFA at the Usability World Cup

The most important task any interactive system can perform for a user is the task that the user wants to perform right now. For millions of users like me, getting information on World Cup match schedules and results is currently the top information-retrieval task.

When I wanted to look up the latest World Cup schedule on a Blackberry, I went to the FIFA website first. Big mistake. While FIFA’s website looks great on a desktop or laptop computer with a broadband connection, loading this image-laden site on a mobile device with a sluggish Edge connection is painful. So painful that I abandoned my attempt to find the World Cup schedule at FIFA and searched Google.

After searching for world cup schedule I was delighted to find my search was over—without even leaving Google. Google currently presents the latest World Cup match schedules and scores as the first search result for queries that include the search terms world and cup.

This is a great example of task-driven design. Google knows that during the World Cup, when users search for World Cup information, the information they are most likely to want relates to match schedules and scores. When the World Cup finishes, Google will return to presenting the regular top search result for World Cup queries, which is probably FIFA. But during this World Cup, it’s Google – 1 FIFA – 0.

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