I would like to know ….

You are creating a digital product. What type of searches might you or your user be looking to perform?

Let’s have a look at the different type of searches we may carry out in our day to day lives:

  • You may be deciding what you will watching on TV. You don’t have a pre-planned viewing schedule. You may wish to browse the TV listings on your TV. You know where to look for the program schedule, but may not be aware in advance which programmes are showing that night.
  • You may be planning a holiday in the sun for next year but have no preconceived ideas as to your destination. You undertake a general web search for “holiday destinations in the sun”. You are therefore looking to explore the web to see what results are returned and from there you can look at the offerings from a number of travel agents or travel related sites.
  • You would like to book a holiday and need to make sure that you have the funds to pay for the deposit. You go to your bank account and check the balance. You know what information you wish to lookup, being the account balance, and know where to find it, at your bank.
  • You have heard a lot of buzz about a specific TV programme and want to watch it. You know the name of the programme but not which channel/streaming service it is being shown on. Therefore you know the programme exists but need to locate the relevant channel/streaming service. 

Why is this important?

When creating a digital product layout, try to understand what type of information your user is likely to be searching for and the way they may approach the search. Make life easier for the user by providing the relevant information or a means of finding relevant information in an intuitive way. Sometimes this may involve:

  • Putting the information directly onto the page.
  • Using a redirect button clearly labelled describing where they will land upon redirection.
  • Putting a search box onto the page – this may be:
    • a general search box. or
    • one which has been restricted to return a response from a set source such as a specific database.

Searching …

In summary, when performing a search typically a user is looking to carry out one or more of the following activities:

  • Browse: unknown item + known location 
  • Explore: unknown item + unknown location 
  • Lookup: known item + known location 
  • Locate: known item + unknown location 

Please think about this when asking for user requirements and when creating the layout and navigation of the product. Try to make it easy for the user to search for the information they require.

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