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Good Design Doesn't Just Happen

October 26, 2009  

Ever wonder how great search results end up that way? Well, in a recent post at the User Interface Engineering blog, Jared Spool says there are no shortcuts to search-result success. According to Spool, "There is no way you can produce a great search-results page [on your website] without spending the time and effort to build it." Period.

Spool asserts that good results pages all have one thing in common—"teams that experimented thoroughly, tried out dozens of designs, and repeatedly watched users." From his past research, Spool provides a few helpful insights for search marketing teams on how users actually expect the search process at your site to work. Among them:

Users press the Search button only after they've scanned a page for their trigger words. ("Trigger words are the words that will 'trigger' them into clicking on a link.") If they can't find them, only then do they turn to the search box and type in their own specific triggers.

Users don't need the first search-results page to contain a link to the exact page with their answers. Instead, they're looking for something that is "clearly getting them closer to their goal," he says.

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