Best Practices for Search Results

POSTED March 18, 2017 IN:

Search is like a conversation between the user and system: the user expresses their information need as a query, and the system expresses its response as a set of results. The results page is a crucial piece of the search experience: it presents an opportunity to engage a dialogue that guides users’ information needs.

Read More: Best Practices for Search Results

Search is a critical element of sites conversion. Users typically make very quick judgments about site’s value based on the quality of search results. That’s why search feature should help users find what they want quickly and easily.

In this article I would like to share 10 practices that will help you improve the search results UX.

1. Don’t erase users’ query after they hit Search button

Keep the original text visible in the search input field.

2. Provide accurate and relevant results

Users typically make very quick judgments about a website’s value based on the quality of one or two sets of search results.

3. Use effective autosuggest

If your site use autosuggest mechanism for search input you need to ensure that this mechanism is useful for your users. 

4. Correct typos

If a user mistypes a search term and you’re able to detect this, try to guess what users mean and search for it instead. This will prevent the frustration that your users will have when they see no results page.

5. Show the number of search results

When users see the number of search items, this information makes it easier for them to decide on how long they want to spend looking through results.

6. Keep recent user’s search queries

Query formulation requires some effort. Even when users know what they searched for the last time they visited your website, they still need to recall information from their memory. 

7. Choose proper page layout

One of the challenges of displaying search results is that different types of content require different layouts. 

8. Show search progress

Ideally search results should be displayed immediately, but if it’s not possible for some reason you can use a progress indicator to give users a visual feedback that the system is working.

9. Provide sort and filter options

Sort and filters help users narrow down the search results and make them relevant to their intention.

10. Don’t return ‘no results’

Dropping someone on a page with no results can be frustrating. Especially if they already have tried the search a few times.