It was interesting listening to Vanessa Fox talk about search, the primary way to navigate the Web. Fox, an expert on this topic wants all of us to solve the searcher’s problem. This is not an easy task as we think differently, confuse ourselves online and sometimes get lost that we need to search ourselves!
We are all lazy, ogle the left side of the page and graphics attract us more than lumps of text. With this common data, why do we still design Web sites that don’t deliver? I think a lot of how we define search depends on the context. In short, we try to have a semblance of objectivity in a totally subjective topic.
Fox urges us to find out what our audience is looking for and what attracts them to the site. She eloquently said that search is about simplicity and conciseness. Two things we forget amid screaming headlines and overpowering graphics. I personally think the absence of limited space on Web sites unleashes abundant creativity that at times gets confusing.
As we think of search, we may want to focus our efforts on finding out what I call the switch rate. How much times does the user use a particular search term and elect to use another if the earlier one fails. This world of search is mysterious and sometimes confusing but smart designers will think of the commonality that binds us as human beings. So, let’s exploit our laziness using clever headlines, and keywords that get the maximum out of minimal effort, and keep searching.
Search and thou shalt find!