On Tuesday, we announced Search Options, which are a collection of tools that let you slice and dice your results and generate different views to find what you need faster and easier.

We know that people search for a wide variety of things and we're continually thinking of new search features to help them find information more quickly and easily. The idea for the Search Options panel originated as a way to accommodate the functionality offered by these new features within the search results page. While it might seem like the panel was simple to put together, a lot of collaboration between design, research, and engineering happened behind the scenes in order to produce the best experience possible.

The team began by generating a broad range of directions, which we refined through design sessions and reviews. Confident about a handful of concepts, we began to seek out user feedback using eye-tracking and usability studies. These studies provided us with valuable feedback about how people understood the options in the panel and interacted with them.

Here's an example of an eye-tracking path that illustrates how a participant wanted to get a sense of the quality of the results before deciding what search option to apply:

After each study, we iterated on the designs, making changes to everything from the order and behavior of the options, to the location of the panel and the way people opened and closed it. We also paid close attention to the visual design of the options panel. We wanted it to feel familiar –- not only to work the way you expect from Google, but to look and feel like Google, too. Even though you just started using the panel, we hope it will seem as if it were there all along.

Below, you can see some of our initial concepts for the Search Options panel:

And here are examples of various iterations, once we had a firm concept in mind:

Once the designs were further solidified, we ran a number of tests with a small portion of our live searches to see how many visitors used the Search Options panel and which options were most popular. This quantitative research complemented qualitative feedback to give us a more complete idea of people’s understanding of Search Options. This process brought us to what you see today.

Even now that the Search Options panel has launched, the work is not over. We’ll continue to monitor how people interact with Google Search, find ways to improve the user experience, listen to your feedback, come up with new tools, and, who knows, maybe even add more wonder to the wonder wheel.