reported over at Search engine roundtable) has made at least one appearance on this side of the Atlantic. One of our technical team was served the new layout when searching Google this morning and immediately spotted (or rather didn't spot) a potential usability issue - the "pages from the UK" search option seemed to have vanished! After some initial surprise, consternation and a few new conspiracy theories it was noticed the UK option wasn't gone; it had been moved over to the Search Options panel (home of the Wonder wheel and other oddities)... [caption id="attachment_376" align="alignleft" width="600" caption="Pages from the UK: Hidden in plain sight?"][/caption] OK, the techie in question may not be at his most alert before he's had his first coffee of the day, but this kind of reaction is often a problem when making UI changes - however much they might make sense, you are still likely to cause temporary confusion amongst existing users. Google has had more-or-less the same layout for years; people can use it without even having to think, in just the same way you make that first morning cup of coffee on autopilot. When something is so familiar, so habitual, even minor changes can be enough to throw people off. But is it a problem? Maybe, maybe not. It's no secret that Google UK (and a lot of Google's localised search engines) have been pretty screwed up lately, with irrelevant results from other countries creeping into the SERPs. A quick straw poll at Backbone has found that we've been more reliant on the "pages from the UK" option to filter out some of the unwanted results as we go about our daily search business. Various bits of research around the net reckon the number of people using the "pages from..." option ranges from anywhere between 15-50% - quite a significant number then (and these were undertaken before Google decided that what Brits *really* wanted was to buy things in Dollars from American websites). However much of an early-morning head-slapping moment missing the fairly obvious option was, it's a safe bet that many more people will miss it if (or more likely when) the Blue Jazz update rolls out to everyone. US-centric design Some might say that if Google really values its customers based outside of the US it has a funny way of showing it. The UK serps fiasco dragged on interminably, with little apparent effort to get to the bottom of the problem - it's still not really sorted out even now. A look at the US version of the Blue Jazz UI (screenshot from Barry Schwartz @ SER) shows the option to search for local results by state directly beneath the search bar (where "pages from the UK" sits now). Why the difference and what are the implications? That it's more important for US-based users to be able to search for websites nearer their part of the country than it is for UK users to avoid seeing irrelevant pages from a different continent, or in a different language? The layout may change before launch, but there's a strong likelihood it will launch as it is. Just be thankful that, for the time being, you don't need to use a special "ukresults:" operator to get country-specific results.