Bing is currently working on making some extensive improvements to its usability, and one area of focus is image search. The search engine has just revealed its roadmap for improving the image search feature. This roadmap includes several major improvements to make Image Search more intuitive and also to make it easier to use on mobile and touch-screen devices. The first step in Bing’s roadmap is to make features adaptable based on the user’s query, the resolution of the device they are using, and the way that they are known to be interacting with the device. This will be a boon for mobile and tablet PC users. Bing has designed the new UI with tablet devices in mind from the start. Tablet users can now enjoy smooth scrolling, swiping through inline carousels to view the search results. The new tablet-focused format is responsive, fast and fluid and makes it much easier for tablet users to see images clearly. PC users will be presented with a larger number of images on the screen at once, and will have the option of clicking on images to get a bigger view, as you might expect.
Users of more traditional smartphones have not been forgotten. Bing promises that the mobile experience will be improved too, and that the changes will “feel very familiar to you”. The mobile update makes the site more streamlined and responsive, and should be very well received by mobile device users.
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Bing recently added Pinterest board searches to the image search system. This update was well received and since then the search engine has refined the feature and added an “exploration suggestions” feature, which has proven to be very popular. Users can refine their search and narrow down queries using an easy-to-access header. This means that they can get narrower search results without having the search experience interrupted by being forced to go back to the start. The mini-header shows a range of suggestions relating to the query being carried out at the time. Users can rotate through the content, and hover over images in order to see a link or associated search icon. Bing hopes to provide relevant, high quality image results and suggestions, including access to a range of social networks and image sharing sites. These features have been well received by users, but it remains to be seen if webmasters will choose to optimise for Bing’s image search specifically.