As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been working late nights on my wife’s website, and I’ve been having a few browser problems. I kind of expected those, and have got round some of the problems, and fixed others. What I didn’t expect was my users not finding the site.
As beta testers, I used some friends and family. Basically, I sent them the link in an email.
I assumed that they’d click on the link and get the site on their default browser, or at worst, they’d cut and paste the link into the address bar of the browser of their choice. I know you should never assume anything when it comes to users, but it seemed a safe assumption to make.
Anyway, a few days later, one particular person said they couldn’t get to the website. I checked, and the site was up. I told her to try again, and she said, it’s not working. Baffled, I went away, and checked some more. It was there. To cut a long story short, I interrogated her again, and found out she was cutting and pasting the url into Google, and doing a search. She just doesn’t use the address bar. The site now comes up first with the url as the search text, but 1 or 2 days after I’d gone live, the Googlebots hadn’t got round to it yet.
This user was baffled as to how she couldn’t find it. I explained about the address bar, and that Google is NOT the internet, but just a search engine, and that it happens to search a database it maintains of the internet. And the internet being a fluid thing, the database is by necessity just a snapshot of the internet. She just couldn’t understand it. To her, if it isn’t on Google, then it’s not on the internet. Am I the only one feeling slightly uncomfortable about this? I’m sure this person is not the only person in the world who thinks that Google is the internet. That’s an awful lot of power in the hands of one company.