Robert Denton

Staggering work of genius from Portland, Maine – Photographer, Designer, Taco Maker, Birder, Biker, Business Owner

More thoughts on Search

Been thinking about the home page, and the site with regard to a search field on every page instead of a link to a search page. What comes first? Giving people the easy way to search or attempting to get them into your content?

Some studies show that people look in the middle of the page first… then if the content doesn’t meet their needs it’s right to the search field. Take a survey of anyone around you in any manner. What is the first action they take on I bet the answer is search.

The trouble with our home page design proposal is the middle content… maybe. Yes, it should be focused on news, yes events should be prominent, however, what we need to make clear is a path for potential key audiences on our home page. Who are the home page visitors? Prospective students. What do they want? Information about admissions, and, if they are interested in a particular program then perhaps they want to browse the academic web site to learn about the faculty.

The audience gateways, or rather, the faculty/staff, the current students, parents, and alumni. These pages will be tailored differently.

The home page and the admissions site are key focus points for prospectives.

From UIE:

In a recent study of 30 users, we found that if the users used Search to locate their target content on the site, only 20% of them continued looking at other content after they found the target content.

But if the users used the category links to find their target, 62% continued browsing the site. Users who started with the category links ended up looking at almost 10 times as many non-target content pages as those who started with Search.

Search, even when designed well, only lets users see what they are looking for. You ask for shoes, you get shoes.

But category links seem to mimic what happens in real life. In a study we conducted watching people shop in the mall (with their permission „ otherwise it’s considered stalking!), we saw users who went into stores specifically to buy shoes but ended up purchasing other products, like sweaters.

Posted: 27.04.2004 in Design, DiscussionsTagged , Both comments and pings are currently closed. — RSS 2.0

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