Instead of browsing through a couple of hundred web pages, visitors rely on search feature to help them find a specific item. Regardless of how common this feature is, still many web owners fail to get the search feature right. Some place it at unconventional places, while others provide users with a stubborn search layout that is of no help.
To get a search UX design, you need to treat it as the most important element of your website. A good search has a conversational touch to it. You tell it your needs and in return, it displays information useful to you. In simple terms, a great search design can considerably enhance user experience which can affect your website.
When do you need a Search Feature?
Let us be honest, not every website needs a search feature. For websites that are smaller in nature, search feature is not necessary. This is because users will be less likely to perform a search when they can easily find what they are looking for with just a few clicks!
On the other hand, for e-Commerce websites that deal with a myriad products on a daily basis may need to invest in one. Also, the website with a larger database and complex designs needs to facilitate users with a search feature that helps them find products quickly. Additionally, the majority of the visitors frequently utilize the search feature for site navigation.
This should be motivation enough to invest in a search UX design if your website lacks one. Below, we have mentioned a few guidelines that can help you create a great search feature.
1. Make the Search Box Prominent
A search field that is camouflaged by a striking website layout serves no purpose at all. The internet is brimming with options, so if the visitors come to your website to find something, they will be instantly turned off if they could not find a search bar.
An individual spends a maximum of 20 seconds on each website. Considering this, you have little time to grab their attention so it is better to provide them with what they need in the first go. The most important rule for a search field is to make it prominent. Additionally, consider investing in an open text-entry field.
A search option that further consumes data to present users with a search field is a big no-no. Also, this kind of search option makes the feature less noticeable. With a search feature, your goal should be to make it visible and visually pleasing; none of which you can achieve with a hidden search option.
2. Pair the Search Feature with a Magnifying Glass Icon
The Mozilla Firefox browser makes its search feature prominent with a magnifying glass icon. Generally, your website can do without such an icon; however, to make it more prominent, it is better to include it in your search bar.
A magnifying glass icon is a universal symbol of finding something. So when you pair it with your search feature, it makes it easy for the visitors to browse through your website. Also, invest in a simpler looking icon as too many graphical elements can confuse your audience.
2. Conduct Testing with a Heat Map
A heat map is used to gather real-time analytics. It tells web owners how users interact with their website and what gets the most attention. It uses heat signatures to track users’ movement and the place which experiences the most user activity is displayed with massive heat signals.
Now, you must be wondering what a heat map got to do with a search feature. Generally, web owners have two specific places in their minds for a search feature; the top of the web page or at the bottom. If you are confused about your users’ preference, you can create a test site with search feature at both the places. Using a heat map, you can track user’s preferences which will make the winner clear. You can also use A/B testing to pinpoint the most favorable location of a search feature.
3. Always Include a Submit button
The majority of the search bars are triggered by a simple pressing of the enter button. But you can take it up a notch by including a submit button alongside the text bar. Generally speaking, a submit button does not serve any purpose other than looking fancy. However, there are various individuals who like it when the website layout acts as a guide. Simply for this reason, you should include a submit button.
If you decide to opt for a submit button, then always ensure to size it appropriately. This means that the button should neither be too big that it overshadows the text bar, nor it should be too small that it requires extreme precision to work properly.
4. Indicate the Search Box’s Purpose
Not every website is an e-Commerce one. There are various websites that cater to different consumers’ need. This is why it is always better to indicate what kind of search queries the search bar will respond to. Mostly, placeholder text is used for this purpose. However, you need to be careful with it since the placeholder text can cause accessibility issues. The placeholder text is lighter in color than the original text. This creates contrast issues that fail to meet with the web accessibility universal guidelines.
5. Invest in a Sticky Search Box
A website layout is all about convenience. A website design that requires the most effort from users can be a huge turn off for online visitors. This is why you need to invest in a sticky header that contains a search text box. Through this way, no matter how much further the users scroll down, the sticky header with the search box will always accompany them.
Additionally, this is a better option than a stagnant one since many websites have detailed content that requires the users to scroll down further. However, with a sticky option, the users will always have quick access to search feature despite scrolling down. With that being said, the web owners need to make search feature available on every web page as well.
A good search provides a good user experience. As the search feature is the critical element of any website, it is better to invest in a search design that caters to the clients’ unique needs.
If you find yourself incapable of bringing such changes, then you should hire a Web Design Company to help you create a search design that can improve your search usability and enhance your overall users’ experience.
Shawn mike provides ghostwriting and copywriting services. His educational background in the technical field and business studies helps him in tackling topics ranging from career and business productivity to web development and digital marketing.