SmartBorg is a new and useful metasearch tool created by Chris Mitchell. The idea is that you enter a search query, in any form that you want, and
then the SmartBorg tool will deliver a page with a recommendation on
the best search engine(s) to use for that search. It is a wonderful
idea. In my mind SmartBorg is better than a pure metasearch engine, such
as Dogpile, because you don't have to wade through results of engines that
won't do a good job.
The tool is also
very fast, and lives in a world much like Google's. The interface is
simple, clean, and understandable. Novices must read the instructions, but
they are only two sentences. Once you run a search or two, you get the
idea. With these good things in mind, here are some possible improvements.
I would like
to see the instructions cut down. Despite the fact that they are
short, they will still probably confuse people. Or, they won't be read
at all. Stumbling on this tool and figuring it out isn't totally
simple, but it could be. For example, it would be relatively easy to
change the instructions to read: "Enter your word, phrase, or
question and SmartBorg will find the right search engine for you."
button's label is Parse and that is confusing. Change it to Go or
Search. Those terms are more standard.
Put a Home
button or link at the top left of every page. Make it easy to get
graphic on every page. Get some branding going, and use it to drive
consistency for users! Make sure that your image can be clicked to
send me back home. If you have to, buy the talent.
adding a Power Search (like Google's lucky search) where you send the
user to the results of the most likely to be used engine, assuming
that this can be reasonably determined. Think of ways to reduce the
steps even more. Add value that others can't since your tool is
You have the
SmartBorg.com domain, why don't you use it? Don't redirect me to your
big. Think big right now. Patent the idea. Work on this project
now. Drop other things. This is something that people want, and they
want it bad. Get a company going. Think of ways to expand on this
idea. The bottom line is that this tool will let you start a business.
Strike now and strike hard! Companies might be willing to partner with
you even now. WebWord might be one possibility.
This is really a
great engine for all kinds of web users. It does slow down the search
process at the front end, however, I consider a SmartBorg search to be an
investment. To be blunt, a small amount of extra time to find the right
search engine will result in a search that is significantly better.
This could result in hours of saved time each week if you are a power
user. If you are an occasional user or newbie, then SmartBorg will ramp
you up the search engine learning curve fast. The tool also will expose you to search
engines that you didn't know about at all.
SmartBorg is a
usability success. Bravo!