SOSO Mobile Website

Festival doodle design for SoSo search engine
Major design revision
Feb 2009 - Feb 2013
Tencent Technology Co. LTD. Beijing
Product:
SOSO search engine
Type:
Mobile web page design
Duration:
6 weeks
My Role:
Virtual Team Leader;
Chief Designer
Team size:
2 designers (Interaction & visual designers)

Background

The SOSO mobile website was first built in 2011. As SOSO search engine included several different subtypes-- such as SOSO music, SOSO map, SOSO pictures, SOSO news, etc., and since there were not enough designers to support this program, it took some months to gradually complete all the mobile web pages. The designs of these subsidiary products were not identical, thus the mobile web did not provide a good-quality user experience. Meanwhile, the mobile web design of SOSO was outmoded to some extent, which could not perfectly accommodate the latest product features. Therefore, an overhaul of SOSO mobile web was in order.

Keywords

As one of the key points of search engine is to find the answers efficiently, we decided to keep the design “simple” and “light” to maintain the fastness of SOSO. Moreover, as we knew from the market research that the target users of SOSO are young people between 16 to 30 years old, “young” should be another keyword of the redesign.

Current Problems

Drafts

As the interaction designer tried to solve the existing problems with an improved layout, I was asked to build a better image through graphic design to impress users that SOSO search engine is light and handy. After the layout of the website was settled, I drafted some designs for the product manager and the team to choose. Since the interaction part remains the same, the new designs differ from the old onlyin details, such as the model of the search bar, the icon color and style, and so forth.

New Strategy

Functional Partition

To use space reasonably, the homepage was divided into four areas—logo and search bar, entrances of subsets, personal information (sign in/ sign up), supplementary information (entrance of other version, and copyright).

Color

To make the page seem lighter, I changed the search bar from blue to white, and designed icons by the brand color of SOSO—blue instead of other colors.

Style

Besides adopting simple shape icon style, I increased the radian of arc of icons to make them more adorable by young people. Moreover, I decreased lines dividing zones so that the webpage appears light and airy.

Final Version of SOSO Web Search

After several rounds of meetings and discussions about the drafts, the final design was decided. Meanwhile we interviewed some target users suggested by the product manager and some team members who were not involved in this program. Their positive feedbacks encouraged us to apply this new design into all the subsidiary products of SOSO immediately.

During the following days, the main pages were designed (both Day mode and Night mode) and endorsed by the main designers and senior project managers.

Guidance

Since there were several subsidiary products of SOSO—which means hundreds of web pages—they had all to be revised according to the new visual style, to ensure the consistency of design among these sub-products, I summarized a set of guidance about all the widgets and supervised the redesign work implemented by different designers.