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21

Browsing vs. searching for product information

UIE have tested whether users shopping online prefer to search or use category links when looking for specific products. They found that the design of the site and the type of products being sold determined user behaviour.

Even though many users claim that they always go to search immediately, there wasn't a single user in the study who always chose the search engine first. On the contrary, 20% of the participants chose links exclusively.

UIE concludes that users seem to use the search engine as a fallback when links doesn't satisfy their needs.

Links:

  • The article Are There Users Who Always Search?

Henrik Olsen - March 21, 2003

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See also: Research (93)  Navigation (46) 


 

22

NN/g report on e-commerce search

NN/g has observed 64 US and Danish users attempting 344 search tasks on 20 US e-commerce sites. The users had a success rate of only 64% in finding what they wanted. The report offers 29 design guidelines. Some highlights:

- Provide a clearly visible search box on every page
- Provide a simple search, with one search box and one search button
- Accept synonyms, spelling errors and variant forms of keywords typically used by customers
- Accommodate multiple-word input
- Always include search criteria, scope and items found in search results page
- Beware of long search result lists, as only few users look past page 2 of search results
- Take the users directly to the item when a search returns only one matching result
- On the "No results" page, make it clear why the search failed, allow the user to begin a new search, and provide alternative ways of locating products
- Support search for non-product terms

Links:

  • The 51 pages report Search ($49)

Henrik Olsen - October 09, 2002

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See also: Tips and guidelines (65) 


 

23

The Dotcom Survival Guide

The Dotcom Survival Guide from Creative Good was published in 2000 but is still relevant and revealing. The 103 pages report shows how dotcom's can survive by focusing on the customer experience, make it easy for customers to find and buy products, merchandise more effectively, and measure and improve the conversion rate.

The report includes reviews of thirty-one dotcom features, teaching by example the good and bad ways of creating the customer experience. Here you'll find good and bad examples of registration, merchandising, navigation, labeling, product comparison, size charts, search, shopping charts, checkouts, and fulfillment.

It also has a case study describing how Creative Good doubled a client's revenue by improving the customer experience.

Links:

Henrik Olsen - June 13, 2002

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See also: E-commerce (21)  Shopping Charts (5) 


 

24

Where should you put common web elements?

Michael Bernard has conducted two studies, which sought to better understand users' expectations concerning the location of common objects on web sites and e-commerce sites.

Some of the findings show that people expect:
- Links back to the front page to be located top-left of a page
- Internal links to be placed along the left side and external links along the right
- Shopping cart, account and help to be located along the top-right side
- Login to be placed top-left

Links:

  • The article Developing Schemas for the Location of Common Web Objects
  • The article Examining User Expectations for the Location of Common E-Commerce Web Objects

Henrik Olsen - June 10, 2002

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See also: Navigation (46)  Web page design (23)  Links (12)  Shopping Charts (5)  Research (93) 


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