we have to admit, local search engines around the middle east are not (for the time being) a threat to Google and if you look closely since they started popping up till now, it looks like they’ll never be.
I am gonna slice n’ dice (kind of) Ayna and Araby
First impression, it doesn’t look like a traditional search engine, it’s more like an old Yahoo. What struck me was the logo, I clicked it, it reloaded the page, no information no nothing about the little birdie up there (Francophonie games in Beirut), not even an alt text about the logo.
We have two menus, left and right, another down point, the right menu only repeats a few links of the left, what’s the point? another thing is the TINY left menu icons…
Colors wise, out of 247 elements there are 95 failures (contrast, brightness, and color difference).
I can’t blame them, accessibility and usability are not taken seriously in the middle east but some can always pioneer and educate the others…
that’s a quick review of Ayna’s landing page, off to Araby’s
Unlike Ayna, Araby’s main focus is on the search, you cannot miss it and it draws the attention the second the page loads. Both website suffer from minuscule fonts and don’t offer a suitable alternative (sIFR anyone?) the 800×600 days are over, no seriously, it’s OVER.
I can only think about ask.com every time I visit Araby (it’s just me most probably) but layout wise and sending the “Hey look at me I am a search engine” vibes works way better than Ayna’s and a bit less dry than Google’s.
Colors wise (accessibility/usability) out of 128 elements we’ve got 77 failures
Having the “most searched for” in that form on Araby’s page MIGHT (and I am just saying MIGHT) be indicating poor search usage, to be fair; middle eastern users need a bit of education when it comes to search engines, and alas, not even one single Arabic search engine offers trainings/tutorials/webinars.
That’s a VERY quick look at the landing pages, I am not providing solutions, we the users are not stupid and it’s not 1998 anymore, innovate and stop insulting our intelligence and “eyes”
Second post will be about the “Experience”…till then, happy searching