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User Experience Fundamentals for Web Design
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Adding search to your site


From:

User Experience Fundamentals for Web Design

with Chris Nodder

Video: Adding search to your site

On most Internet sites visitors split about half and half between preferring to use the navigation menus and preferring to use a search box. The more content a site has the more likely visitors are to use search. So make sure that your search feature is easily accessible to people from every page in your site. Although some sites still format it differently the standard design for a search feature is to have an empty, unlabeled field with a button onto its right called Search. The button's action verb removes the need for a label. Some sites put hint text inside the search field, but even today that text still causes issues for a proportion of visitors who don't understand the text will disappear once the field has focus. The standard location for the search field these days is the top right-hand corner of the page. If for some reason you can't put it there, the next most common location is the top of the vertical navigation column. Intranets are different from other websites when it comes to search. Intranet users tend to perform less searches and rely more on navigation, mainly because intranet search engines tend to have trouble extracting meaning from all the messy content on an intranet site which means the intranet search results aren't as useful as they could be. We found from research that the size of search box determines the type of queries that people will enter. A small text entry field means the people enter shorter queries. If people will need to enter longer queries in order to find the content they want in your site, make sure you give them a long enough text entry field. If you have any control of your site's search results page, there are a couple of things you should do to help your visitors. The first is to repeat the search term on the results page. Repeating it on the page allows people to see whether they spelled it correctly. Leaving in the search field allows them to quickly edit it. That's important for refining searches if the site returns either too many or too few results. Next, list the search results in one list. Each result should take the now standard format of a line of a link text, a description, and then the URL. Thumbnail photos can be extremely helpful to guide people to the right content. It's amazing how much information we can extract from such a tiny image. Again, if you have control over it the line of linked text should in most instances be the title of the page and the description text should be the page summary. Search is too important to leave to chance. Formatting your search entry fields and search result page is only half of the story. You also have to make sure that each of your pages is well described in a way that your search engine can understand. If you have access to defining the pages meta tags then use the summary text that you write for each page in the description meta tag and be sure to create a unique title for each page using the format we describe in the next chapter. Even if you don't have access to these HTML elements it's likely that the search engine will pick up your heading or page title and hopefully your summary paragraph to use anyway. Obviously, all the work that you're putting into optimizing your site's internal search engine applies just as much to web searches that people carry out on Google, Bing, or Yahoo!. Spending just a little bit of time thinking about your page format before you start creating can save you a whole bunch of hassle later when you want to try and optimize for search.
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  1. 1m 7s
    1. Welcome
      1m 7s
  2. 4m 37s
    1. Building a site for your visitors
      1m 29s
    2. Understanding how people browse the web
      45s
    3. It's all about information
      48s
    4. What causes people to leave sites?
      1m 35s
  3. 3m 50s
    1. Simple design
      1m 9s
    2. Consistent design
      1m 11s
    3. Standard design
      1m 30s
  4. 20m 55s
    1. Elements of navigation
      1m 21s
    2. Content has a structure
      2m 18s
    3. Understanding menus
      3m 19s
    4. Reviewing some menu myths
      2m 4s
    5. Working with site maps
      1m 5s
    6. Adding search to your site
      2m 53s
    7. Understanding links
      3m 43s
    8. Exploring clickable elements
      1m 18s
    9. Understanding Fitts's Law
      2m 54s
  5. 11m 19s
    1. People can begin from any page on your site
      1m 24s
    2. Elements every web page should have
      3m 25s
    3. Creating progressive navigation
      3m 22s
    4. Arranging your content
      3m 8s
  6. 8m 7s
    1. How people read on the web
      2m 31s
    2. Writing for information exchange
      1m 43s
    3. Formatting pages for information exchange
      3m 53s
  7. 7m 21s
    1. Using your homepage as a site summary
      1m 50s
    2. Creating fresh content
      1m 20s
    3. Displaying navigation and search
      1m 25s
    4. The five-second test
      2m 46s
  8. 8m 8s
    1. Showing people what you've got
      3m 50s
    2. Making comparisons easy
      1m 24s
    3. Creating landing pages from ad campaigns
      2m 54s
  9. 11m 22s
    1. The real purpose of detail and product pages
      1m 16s
    2. Writing descriptive text
      2m 4s
    3. Using images to set context
      2m 17s
    4. Showing the price for products
      2m 27s
    5. Have a call to action
      1m 36s
    6. About Us: a special detail page
      1m 42s
  10. 10m 58s
    1. Ask for information in context
      2m 25s
    2. Making forms as painless as possible
      2m 34s
    3. Creating form fields
      3m 37s
    4. Handling errors gracefully
      2m 22s
  11. 9m 9s
    1. Using different types of media
      1m 55s
    2. Simple question: Does it enhance the experience?
      2m 15s
    3. Using graphics for explanation, not decoration
      1m 17s
    4. What is interactive content?
      1m 58s
    5. Laying out your page for media
      1m 44s
  12. 5m 3s
    1. Making money without selling out
      1m 37s
    2. Adding graphical ads
      2m 10s
    3. Creating text ads
      1m 16s
  13. 3m 42s
    1. Simple, consistent, and standard design
      2m 4s
    2. Consider your users and you'll be fine
      1m 38s
  14. 1m 31s
    1. More resources
      1m 31s

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User Experience Fundamentals for Web Design
1h 47m Beginner Dec 20, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Discover how to create a user experience that embodies utility, ease of use, and efficiency by identifying what people want from websites, how they search for information, and how to structure your content to take advantage of this. In this course, author Chris Nodder shows how to merge engineering, marketing, graphical and industrial design, and interface design to create a website that meets the needs of your customer, and is simple, elegant, and engaging. The course shows how to use graphics to help rather than hinder visitors, balance advertising and content, and integrate video, audio, and other media. Other tutorials consider the landing page experience and elements like contact forms from the visitor's perspective.

Topics include:
  • Applying simple, consistent, and standard design principles
  • Tailoring your menus, site map, and links for visitors
  • Understanding progressive navigation
  • Formatting page for information exchange
  • Understanding the importance of the homepage
  • Creating compelling category and landing pages
  • Showing the price for products
  • Having a call to action
  • Asking for information on forms
  • Using media to tell your story
  • Earning ad revenue without discrediting your site
Subjects:
Web User Experience
Author:
Chris Nodder

Adding search to your site

On most Internet sites visitors split about half and half between preferring to use the navigation menus and preferring to use a search box. The more content a site has the more likely visitors are to use search. So make sure that your search feature is easily accessible to people from every page in your site. Although some sites still format it differently the standard design for a search feature is to have an empty, unlabeled field with a button onto its right called Search. The button's action verb removes the need for a label. Some sites put hint text inside the search field, but even today that text still causes issues for a proportion of visitors who don't understand the text will disappear once the field has focus. The standard location for the search field these days is the top right-hand corner of the page. If for some reason you can't put it there, the next most common location is the top of the vertical navigation column. Intranets are different from other websites when it comes to search. Intranet users tend to perform less searches and rely more on navigation, mainly because intranet search engines tend to have trouble extracting meaning from all the messy content on an intranet site which means the intranet search results aren't as useful as they could be. We found from research that the size of search box determines the type of queries that people will enter. A small text entry field means the people enter shorter queries. If people will need to enter longer queries in order to find the content they want in your site, make sure you give them a long enough text entry field. If you have any control of your site's search results page, there are a couple of things you should do to help your visitors. The first is to repeat the search term on the results page. Repeating it on the page allows people to see whether they spelled it correctly. Leaving in the search field allows them to quickly edit it. That's important for refining searches if the site returns either too many or too few results. Next, list the search results in one list. Each result should take the now standard format of a line of a link text, a description, and then the URL. Thumbnail photos can be extremely helpful to guide people to the right content. It's amazing how much information we can extract from such a tiny image. Again, if you have control over it the line of linked text should in most instances be the title of the page and the description text should be the page summary. Search is too important to leave to chance. Formatting your search entry fields and search result page is only half of the story. You also have to make sure that each of your pages is well described in a way that your search engine can understand. If you have access to defining the pages meta tags then use the summary text that you write for each page in the description meta tag and be sure to create a unique title for each page using the format we describe in the next chapter. Even if you don't have access to these HTML elements it's likely that the search engine will pick up your heading or page title and hopefully your summary paragraph to use anyway. Obviously, all the work that you're putting into optimizing your site's internal search engine applies just as much to web searches that people carry out on Google, Bing, or Yahoo!. Spending just a little bit of time thinking about your page format before you start creating can save you a whole bunch of hassle later when you want to try and optimize for search.

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