August 12, 2020 UX Best Practices

Search on a Site – A Supplemental Feature or a Necessity?

By: Pat Kelly
The search feature on websites is a component that often gets overlooked in terms of its value. Websites such as Amazon, YouTube, Steam, eBay, and essentially all ecommerce websites rely heavily on a user’s ability to search for what they are looking for as opposed to sifting through multiple layers of a navigation menu and the subsequent unrefined results that are returned. As users, we are often drawn to the search input by instinct and don’t even think about how we would get to our desired end point in the absence of this tool. Having the option to search for something is a must if you are running an online business in 2020.

As your website and business scale up, it becomes increasingly important for a search feature to be implemented. Give this a try: Pretend you’re a customer looking to upgrade the storage on your desktop or laptop from a 250GB SSD to a 1TB SSD. Navigate to BestBuy’s website and time yourself finding any 1TB SSD without the search input. Then, time yourself finding any 1TB SSD with the search input. Compare your results side-by-side to see just how robust a search feature is. When completing this field test, it took me 41 seconds to find a 1TB SSD navigating BestBuy’s navbar and a mere 4 seconds by typing “1TB SSD” + hitting enter in their search input. This variance in time could be the difference between a user completing a purchase on your website or going to a competitors to fulfill their needs.

Making it as easy as possible to find a specific item or piece of information is why a search function is so vital on a website. Fundamentally, you want to give your users what they are seeking as quickly as possible. Patience is extremely low in today’s digitized world where on average, roughly 57% of visitors leave a site if the page takes more than 3 seconds to load. We understand this urgency for immediate results and that is why we utilize the power of Hawksearch – a best-in-class intelligent search and recommendations platform that allows you to customize your visitors search experience. Hawksearch knows that users today are looking for swift, relevant, and accurate results when they search for something on your website. With Hawksearch, you get several substantial features including but not limited to:
  • Relevant recommendations – recommendations from AI/machine learning
  • Relevancy tuning – refining which fields/keywords influence returned results
  • SEO influencer – making sure your site’s search influences your external SEO efforts
  • Smart autocomplete – instant predictions of what the user is after
  • Reporting – enhance your site based on recognized patterns/trends
“Hawksearch recently released Hawksearch Search Information Manager (SIM). This next-generation in search technology not only amplifies the importance of results,” states Paul Nashawaty, Hawksearch’s Vice President of Marketing, “but also enriches, normalizes and cleanse data providing intelligent responses for the client’s request.”  

The Hawksearch platform provides a feature-rich, next-generation search technology that incorporates recommendations, machine learning, artificial intelligence into search and/or navigation on high performing web sites.

Whether a user is viewing your site on a desktop, mobile device, tablet, or some other device, their desire is the same – they are looking to move through your website in as little time as possible. From your perspective, this is something you should prefer as well since it ultimately will lead to a greater ROI. Capitalize on the power of search and immediately improve your website’s effectiveness. Contact us today to learn how we can help advise on a search implementation for your website.
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