The recent COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of maintaining various online channels of communication open and uninterrupted in times of uncertainties; as a result, the quality and consistency of both the website’s content and design has become critical to your business’s survival. In order to adapt to this new environment, many small and medium-sized business owners as well as larger e-Commercial platforms have all begun to adopt site search capabilities. Therefore, in this article, we will briefly dive into the field of user experience and explain to you why you need site search capabilities and how you can improve your website’s overall UX.
Why search is an important part of your product development strategy
Against the backdrop of rising demand for self-service and personalization, search has become the most important function on most websites, delivering experiences that drive business value in the form of higher conversion rate, customer engagement, and revenue. Good search tools provide faster search results and attract clients to spend more time interacting with website contents. They allow users to filter results, browse different categories, and even provide personalized recommendations when requested. It is highly probable that a potential user will convert into a lead if the website’s search tool is strong and powerful enough. Last but not least, the search function also poses an opportunity for you to get additional insights, and this includes knowing what the users are looking for, so you can adjust the website to the visitor’s specific needs accordingly.
If you seek to achieve a higher conversion rate by updating your website, then you would have to provide a smoother and more efficient search UX. According to a study by Forrester, up to an astonishing 43% of visitors immediately use the search bar when visiting a site. The best way to help your customers find what they need on your site is by providing them a user-friendly search experience in the easiest way possible. This will help increase customer satisfaction, loyalty, and make them more likely to initiate purchases, and return to the site for more in the near future. Users are expressing what they want to see and find by searching information on your website; this demonstrates their intentions in their own words. And the benefit of knowing all of these? You will then be able to perform site search analytics tapping straight into the hearts of your most important clients, and thereby being able to plan for the future.
Best practices to provide a smooth search UX
Bearing in mind what was previously discussed, we now present you with some of the most important practices you would need for a good site search UX:
- Incorporate the search tool into the overall UX design - A responsive website combined with a strong search capability is crucial in enabling both your existing users and potential clients to navigate your web pages in a much faster and efficient way. This improves the findability of your content and increases the time individual users would spend over the content. A clearly-structured design is efficient and it helps users find what they need in the easiest way possible; this makes it a win-win scenario for you and your customers.
- Place the search bar front and center - The first thing you see when you open Google’s website is a most simplistic search bar, and so should your website. Likewise, the search bar on your site should always remain at the top, and thus provide easy access to search the whole database at all times. Remember, a user’s attention on a content-heavy web page shifts all the time, and so you have to make the search bar as obvious and eye-catching as possible.
- Present a list of dynamic search results - Giving your users the option to filter and personalize their results without any page refreshed is a great way to boost engagement and help your customers find what they need. The search results page/tab should refresh automatically as different filters are activated or disabled.
- Provide autocomplete queries - AI-powered autocomplete query suggestions save your customers time and energy, help avoid frustration and ensure that they are getting the most relevant results possible. Altogether, these help create a memorable experience.
- Enabling visitors to filter their own results - You can enhance your website’s overall UX and search experience by empowering your viewers with a limited, and thereby financially feasible, number of filtered results. This ensures that customers get the most relevant and up-to-date content in just a few clicks than having to shift through pages of less relevant search results.
- Anticipate needs and provide personalized recommendations - You should utilize existing machine learning technologies to help predict search recommendations. This is a necessary step in building up your website’s ability to provide strong personalized feeds with high precision.
- Optimize for mobile devices - Recognizing the success of mobile apps such as Instagram and TikTok, browsing on mobile devices is undoubtedly a dominant force amongst consumers today. Therefore, you should consider updating your website, making it compatible with various mobile devices, in order to increase visitor engagements.
How do leading brands utilize search solutions
The younger generation of online consumers know what they want to buy. However, they would frequently encounter problems locating the exact product that they are looking for while surfing throughout an entire platform. It would be a low-level and preventable mistake if you lose them due to poor navigation features and messy website structures. Therefore, it is very important (especially during peak shopping seasons) that you provide your visitors a smooth online shopping experience. You will see an increase in revenue when you enable your customers the ability to search, locate, and purchase the product they need with ease.
Now, let us take a look at how leading IT enterprises benefit from an efficient and effective site search UX:
- Walmart – Walmart’s search box is designed in a highly-contrasting white and blue background; this helps them gain the attention they need. The American conglomerate is also known for following a UX practice called “hint text.” To put it simply, the “hint text” is an embedded line of sentence within the white and blue search bar which states: ‘Search everything at Walmart online and in store.’ In other words, this is a smart and direct call-to-action.
- Amazon – Using autocomplete, Amazon implements a predictive query that saves user’s time and improves the overall customer satisfaction. Such queries reduce typos and can indirectly promote certain products.
- Craigslist – Craigslist uses results stats to prevent zero results. These results stats appear before the user hits ‘enter,’ so they can see the corresponding findings available in Craigslist’s massive database. Simultaneously, this design allows users to adjust their search query accordingly if they feel like the number of results are low and insufficient; in other words, users can see and adjust the range of their results as they provide inputs.
- ASOS – Facets help users narrow down their search by grouping items into categories such as ‘women’s’ or ‘men’s’ shoes. ASOS uses facets by first offering a very basic and gendered ‘women’/‘men’ choice. Then, they further break down the results into more subcategories, which guide users closer to the exact items. This very basic tree-style structure saves users time and helps improve search accuracy.
- Target - A drop-down appears with a list of trending searches when consumers click on Target’s search box. This functionality guides visitors when they don’t know what they exactly need. Additionally, it also acts as a kind of social proof, similar to the ‘wisdom of the crowd,’ and helps convince customers better through the powerful behavior of conformity.
How Omnisearch can transform the search on your site
At Omnisearch, we offer a simple and effective tool for complete site search of all types of content from audio and video to text and PDFs. Our site search solution is built with high commitment on both reliability and security. Check out this article to learn more about how site search can boost your growth and strengthen your ability to be successful online.
Another key feature we provide here at Omnisearch is the ability to help you uncover and analyze your visitors’ search habits when viewing your website. These habits include identifying the most frequently used keywords and phrases during search and the acceptance rate over various personalized recommendations, thus providing invaluable insights into users’ behaviors.
The Omnisearch tool requires very little effort from your developers, and our support team will help you in tackling all site search issues. We guarantee that your search tool will never break down or go offline, leaving your own teams with more time to improve other integral parts of your digital infrastructure. Finally, please feel free to contact us for a quick demo to learn more about ways to implement your personal site search engine.