Search results best practices

September 28, 2009

For easy reference, here is a list of some of the best practices that have been gleaned from different search results pages:

  • User should have easy access to the search box for follow-up searches
  • Where possible, search terms should be clearly indicated at the top, and in context in the results
  • Related sponsored links can be included below the search box, near the bottom, or on the right
  • Titles should be clickable and clearly differentiated from details
  • Visited links should be indicated
  • Pagination units should be visibly block-shaped and have a hover effect, to easily differentiate from one another
  • Related products, tags, or keywords should be displayed in a non-obtrusive section
  • E-Commerce sites should allow the “view” to be toggled between “list” and “grid”
  • Advanced search options should be easily accessible
  • Should allow re-sorting or filtering of results
  • Where possible, results pages should have RSS feeds or “subscribe” options
  • For complex interfaces, clear, easy-to-access search tips or instructions should be provided
  • Sorting and Filters should be JavaScript or Ajax-driven, where possible
  • Popularity or star-ratings should be shown for individual results
  • Include an option to increase the number of results per page
  • To monitor future improvements, request feedback from users after searches are conducted
  • If results span different sections of the website, indicate this by sub-headings or other dividers

Louis Lazaris: Search Results Design: Best Practices and Design Patterns

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