Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Starting from Zero: Winning Strategies for No Search Results Pages

Working on the search results page during design ...

"Search results pages are some of the most visited pages on typical e-commerce sites—to say nothing of a search engine like Google. Many articles appear each year about optimal search algorithms, database performance, and the like. In contrast, very few publications focus on improving the search experience from the customer’s perspective. My new Search Matters column aims to fill this gap by focusing on:

* best practices of search user interface (UI) design
* design patterns and strategies for improved search user interfaces
* common search UI pitfalls
* how to use search to provide maximum value to customers and your business
* practical search UI matters that have strategic impact on your customers’ Web site experience

During my career, I have designed diverse search user interfaces—for loan matching, large e-commerce, and social networking sites. With the goal of discovering innovative search strategies, I have led participatory design sessions for search user interfaces involving the home page, gallery pages, catalogs, and many others. Most importantly, I have watched over 100 people use various search interfaces as part of my field and lab studies. My design work in the search domain has led me to become intimately familiar with winning strategies for search user interfaces that involve diverse inventories and complex products. As you can see, the topic of search UI design has been the focus of much of my work. Based on this work, I have previously published two articles on search UI design and search caching strategies in the magazine JavaWorld.

Since this is the first installment of my column, it makes sense to begin from zero, with the no search results page. “Starting from zero, got nothing to lose,” as the Tracy Chapman song goes—so we can hardly do worse."    (Continued via UXmatters, Greg Nudelman)    [Usability Resources]


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