It should not be hard for site visitors to find and use your site search. A successful site visit requires the desired content to be accessible to the user. If it is not, they will leave – and most likely, not come back. You want site visitors to have a great experience on your site and happily return, right? Give some thought to your site’s search bar. Make it easy.
While the search bar is among the most frequently used spots on most websites, it is often the last to receive design consideration. Businesses end up inserting search wherever the site design allows. Some sites ignore search altogether and rely on navigation elements to lead the way. If your website has dozens of pages, or has any potential for content growth, we believe that a prominent search bar is an important option to best serve your website’s guests.
Google Search is the most popular website in the world. According to Firstsiteguide.com, Google was visited over 74 billion times in 2021, processed 3.5 billion searches per day, and continues to shape what the world expects to see in search. User expectation for search, quite simply, is driven by Google. What do people see when they conduct searches on Google?
Text Field and Button
The essential elements in Google’s search bar are simple. There is an input field for text and a search button. These are the two non-negotiables for your search bar. After entering text in the search field, both the search button and the ‘Enter’ function on keyboards should successfully submit search queries. No, you don’t need to adopt Google’s “I’m Feeling Lucky” button.
The Magnifying Glass
The magnifying glass has become the most significant visual cue in identifying an available search field. It is a must-have for your search bar. You can improve the visibility of the magnifying glass by not only increasing its size, but also strengthening contrast and increasing padding between the icon and the frame of your search bar. If you have identified an action color within your branded site’s color palette, use it for both the magnifying glass and the search button.
Size and Location
While your search bar may not need to be as large as what is seen on Google, you will want to test options to be certain it is appropriately visible and functional across all screen sizes. The search bar is predominately placed at the top-right of a web page. The top-right has become the expected, intuitive location. For mobile-first designers, however, a trending bottom of the screen placement caters to the majority of people who primarily use their thumb for screen interaction.
Google’s search bar does not compete with many other elements on its page for visual priority. That is, most likely, the reason Google does not employ placeholder text within their search bar. With this one, considering placeholder text for your search bar, you may want to stray from Google’s lead. Many sites opt for using the word “Search” or the phrase “What are you looking for?” as placeholder text. Others guide users on the type of search queries, like “Search for products,” and deploy auto-suggest options to aid search success.
The algorithms and artificial intelligence behind successful search are, without question, complex topics. Designing a search bar is not. Follow Google’s lead and it should be easy.
Search is one element Americaneagle.com prioritizes with clients as we advance website solutions that focus on user experience. If you would like to learn more about advanced search solutions and user experience, consider contacting us today to get started.