Starting With Search
I discovered something interesting the other day while browsing a few very popular sites. As a repeat user to these sites, I typically use only one tool every time I visit: the main search field. It got me thinking, does anyone actually do a good job of giving me the bare minimum of what I need to use their site? Of course one site comes to mind, Google. They do it right and pretty much always have, now why can't others do it like Google, and who might they be?
I've done a few simple designs for sites that I think would benefit immensely from cutting out all the extra crap that I never use. These sites usually have one significant goal that can be accomplished by typing into a search box. Granted a lot of the design isn't ideal to please every person involved in these decision making processes, it's more of a fun experiment that appeals to the design branch of web apps. In all of these cases this page would serve mostly as a first contact, entry page with the current homepages still existing one level deeper into the site. (Please withhold all Inception jokes)
I don't think I've ever gone to Amazon and not immediately clicked on the search field and started typing. I've usually pressed enter on my search query before the page even finishes loading. This is my ideal Amazon first page.
Same as Amazon, I don't care about anything here except searching for my city. Sure if there's an emergency weather alert or something, put it on this page. I envision an auto suggest list that comes up once you start typing anything. If you start typing the name of your city, the list narrows down till you see an option in the list you want to use.
Occasionally browsing is fun here, so I left in some of the popular sections. It's bizarre and challenging trying to design within craigslists' style. I tweaked the blue just a little because that default browser blue makes my eyes hurt.
Hopefully you enjoyed these simple mocks, I know I had some fun throwing them together. Got any sites that you consistently use the main search box for and not much else? If you're feeling ambitious, attach some designs of your own!