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Metacritic's inconsistent search UX

Metacritic is an app that aggregates critics' reviews for movies, games, TV, and music all across the web. It's a very useful site that I use occasionally to check out reviews for recent albums - and I'll link out to the reviewers' sites to read more detailed reviews.

Most of the site is organized fairly well. Search results are laid out in nice, usable columns based on category. And once I find a specific album, I can read each of the reviews very easily. 

There are just a few issues when search for an album. Although I can eventually find what I'm looking for, the experience is less than optimal - some elements really don't afford clicking or they change position in the UI, and the overall look and feel is inconsistent depending on where you are in the flow.

Here's a few of the steps when searching for an album...


A search for Wolf Parade begins in the typical location - top right of the UI.



The search input looks like a text field - but it's just a big button (I expected to enter search criteria here).


Tapping the search input in the top right opens an overlay - notice how the search text input now displays all the way to the left. And still haven't entered any criteria.


A search for Wolf Parade displays results in a multi-column, usable layout.


The look and feel changes, and the search input moves to a new location.

If Metacritic can fix these issues in Search, they'll turn a good experience into a great one.



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