Internet users have certain expectations when using the search function on a website. If your website's site search doesn't meet these expectations, users may not stay on or return to your site.
User expectations for site searches are fairly straightforward. They include:
- box they can type words in, rather than a link to a search page;
- a button that says "search;" and
- results listed in relevancy order.
Users expect "search" to mean "keyword search." For example, people expect different results from a keyword search and a product search. With a product search, users expect to see a list of products that doesn't include other documents related to the products, while they expect that all relevant content on the site will be included in a keyword search.
If your site provides a non-keyword search such as a product search, it should be offered on a separate page from the main keyword search, with a link to the page provided near the keyword search box or in the navigation menu. This is because many people blindly think every box on a web page is for keyword search, even though you clearly mark the botton as "product search."
© November, 2007