Why ignoring your design is a waste of all your hard work

3 ways to transform your vanilla search into a Neapolitan delight that makes the most of your content.

While we all appreciate a clean, uncluttered search results page that is accurate and fast, there are many good reasons why you should consider bringing your search experience beyond the Google-style search results that have historically dominated the way we think of and design our search interfaces.  

From using auto-completions and customising your result formats, to changing the search layout structure - there are many ways you can customise your search interface to meet your user and business needs, without compromising the style and accuracy of your results.

Type less, not more

Auto-completion provides users search and content suggestions while they type. A search engine that can generate search suggestions automatically and allow you to define your own means your users receive an almost instantaneous fulfilment of their search needs. And fast search equals happy customers.  

✓ Type less.
Using suggestions means that you can type less and get the query you are intending to type. There’s also less opportunities for spelling mistakes.
✓ Find out more.
As suggestions are generated from the existing content the chance for find the result your looking is substantially increased.
✓ Think less.
Your users spend less effort trying to think of what to type to find your content
✓ Discover more.
Auto-completion can also present further results, content and queries not contained in the search terms, providing more ideas for content to look at.
✓  Fast track.
Providing suggestions that link to or provide the information they are looking for up-front means less clicks and happier users.

Give your search results some love

A search result is a single record displayed on a search page. The standard search result generally has the following elements; title link, URL and a summary.

Plain Google search result for 'standard

So why should you do anything different? Consider these benefits:

✓ ROI.
A lot of time and money is invested in developing your content and metadata, so why not use it to it’s full capacity and maximise that return on investment?
✓ More user friendly results.
Your content could include news, blogs, events, contacts, productions, videos and images. Customising the formats for various content types will help people disseminate the information more easily.
✓ Smarter interactions.
Sometimes your user just need a contact, to add a product to a wish list or to share some content found a while back. You’ll save them time and effort by including more information in your search result.

Don’t forget your search layout

Now that your results are looking better than ever, why not turn your attention to your layout? After all, does this excite you?:

Plain Google search results for 'standard

There are several ways you can customise your search layout to provide a more engaging experience for your user's.

✓ Grid Layout
Using grid view layouts are great for product style searches, which are focused more on content discovery of tangible or visual items.

ICAS grid layout

✓ Infinite scrolling

Implementing infinite scrolling instead of pagination, why reload a page when you can scroll and see more results on demand.

✓View switch

Adding a layout view switcher to empower the user by allowing them to switch between search views that works for their needs.

✓ Tabs

Including tabbed search is great for focusing the results view to a scoped content type or website. Utilising tabs also allows you to provide different search views for result sets.

Discover Tasmania tabbed search

It's a feature rich world out there, which means with a little effort you can transform your vanilla search into a Neapolitan experience that benefits a larger breadth of your audience.

We’ve put together a couple of how to guides on customising your search results and layouts for the hands-on Funnelback user's in your organization:

Add auto-completion to your search.
Generate custom search suggestions.
Customise a search result.
Customise a search result for multiple content types.
Create a grid layout.

You might also be interested in our case study for Federation Training

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