In my last installment of Search Matters, “Cameras, Music, and Mattresses: Designing Query Disambiguation Solutions for the Real World,” I presented several design strategies for query disambiguation. This month, we’ll explore the simple, but very powerful design pattern called More Like This, which provides the information scent and motivation necessary to make customers navigational decisions quick, easy, and intuitive. Unfortunately, most sites do not make sufficient use of this pattern and some that do use it design and implement it incorrectly. Read More
Page layout forms the foundation in presenting search results. Your layout decisions for search results pages will have tremendous impact on the user experience for your entire site. Choosing the right width for search results is important, and the optimal width for search results may be a great deal narrower than some people using big monitors would believe.
To see for yourself the narrow divide between great and barely usable search results layouts, take a look at Figure 1, which shows the primary gateway to the Starbucks shopping area. When it comes to page layout, this Starbucks search results page shows very poor design choices. At a screen resolution of 800 x 600 pixels, most of what you see is the left margin of the layout and a large logo. Read More
Thinking of porting your Web finding experience to iPhone, Android, or Windows Mobile? Just forget about the fact that these devices are basically full-featured computers with tiny screens. Having gone through this design exercise a few times, I have realized that designing a great mobile finding experience requires a way of thinking that is quite different from our typical approach to designing search for Web or desktop applications. To put it simply, designing a mobile finding experience requires thinking in terms of turning limitations into opportunities. In this column, I’ll discuss some of the limitations of mobile platforms, as well as the opportunities they afford, and share a few design ideas that might come in handy for your own projects. Read More