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Search Box Design Tips to Optimize the Website Performance

If you have a nice website design and good quality content, yet cannot figure out the reason why it is not  performing up to level of expectation, the answer may just lie in employing a Search Box. Search box design tips are extremely important to develop a website with superior quality functioning and working

Search boxes are usually the last escape route a user use, while navigating through the website. If your website is heavy on its content and contains with in itself an exhaustive range of features and functionalities, design elements, products and services etc, the Search box is a must have for your website. A website tends to grow with time. Of course when you started with the entire website design and development process, you must have had a simple design and just a few articles and posts, loosely informing about the website, its features and services etc. However with the consistent up gradations and renewal along the time, it has now grown out to be laced with posts, features and other information. Thus, the search box is not only important but supremely crucial to optimize the performance of your website.

It is indeed important to develop a website with superior quality functioning and working, but at the same time we cannot neglect the front end performance of the website either. The website may have unique features and functionalities and the quality of the content being displayed on the website may possibly be the best available, but if the front working of the website is not comforting and user centric enough, it will not  get any profit from such high quality attributes.

You think search box don’t need a design, thing again!

A search box must have to a conspicuous and stand out appearance in the entire website design. It must be easy for the users to quickly recognize and identify the search box. It is common notion which website owners tend to dwell on that search boxes only have the input field and the submit button, thus they need not have a design.

But due to these rampant misconceptions, website owners lose out on the potential opportunities. Often, due to the lack of design and stand out feature, users get confused as to how to locate the search box and often they hit the “back” button. So yes, an insipid and unrecognizable search box design could be the culprit, if your website manages to get decent amount of traffic, but the conversion rates are infuriatingly low.

A search box is what helps you in sustaining the users, when your website fail them. A large scale website may be a wee bit of an overwhelming experience for the users, and at times they may just hit back, instead of posing up further with the website. If you provide the users with the search option, they can simply type what they are looking for in the search box and get it over with.

In the present fast track world, time surely is money, and search boxes help users conserve the time they spend and provide them with a highly comforting and simplified website browsing experience.

Design considerations for the Search box design

While designing the search boxes for your website, it is important to consider the following –

Do not make the users search for the search box – The search box should be clearly visible and must not be left unnoticed in the design. Even if you have all white themed website, by just giving a black colored boundary to the search box, and making the font color Red etc, might just solve the purpose of a distinct search box.

The Search box must look like a box – yes, you can experiment and be creative with the search box designs, but do not make it appear like something completely different. There is a reason why search box must be a box. The online users would not read the entire website, they will only gaze through it. And a lot of conditional learning has gone under their behavior, and while searching for the search box, they are actually looking for that rectangular shaped search box.

Placement of the search box –  Where do you place the search box matters a lot in optimizing the outcome from the website and improving its performance. The general rule of thumb says that the search boxes should be placed in the top left hand side or right hand side corner of the website, as the users who wishes to save time and effort can directly search whatever they need and get along with it. However a lot of advertising campaigns etc forces the designers to place the search boxes in the bottom of the page. This does not really solve the utility purpose of the search boxes in the website and must be avoided.

Besides, it will be an intelligent idea to place the search boxes on each and every web page, so that even if the users started with navigating the website on their own and got lost in the middle, then can simply and conveniently go to the option that they want.

Creatively name the submit button – The submission button must be named creatively. Instead of just putting up a simple and boring “go” you may think of writing “Find” or “Search” or “Locate” etc. However do not name it something completely out of the box, which makes it too hard for the users to guess the meaning.

Provide an option of search through categories – Give the users the liberty to search through various categories. On the same line of thought, you can also display the categories, that users can search for in the input field itself. With the help of Java Script you can even display the categories or the custom fields the users can search for, when they hover the cursor over the search box. From the perspective of the users, it is an amazing and captivating option.

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Search Box Designs Blunders You Just Have to Avoid

While researching, we recognized a few blunders done by other websites in displaying the search boxes. These are the few prevalent blunders, you just have to avoid, if you wish to optimize the performance of your website through search boxes.

Search boxes hidden in the website – we have repeatedly discussed to the necessity to display the search boxes in a clearly recognizable way. Do not place the search box in the bottom of the website, it is better if the search box appear above the fold in the right hand side corner of the website. If the design is heavy and confusing, the users may just hit the back button before even navigating till the very bottom of the website.

Keeping the input field too short – give the users required scope too feed in the exact input query. Keeping the input field short only discourages them to use the search boxes as anyway they cannot feed in the entire input they wish to search for. Also short input fields become very inconvenient for the users to read and respond to.

Keeping the submit button too short – the design of the website could be such that it does not allow the submit button to be long enough, but keeping it too short and causes the despair in the users, as they have to really precise with the click of the mouse, else the search query is wasted and they are lead on to some different page altogether.

Grouping the search boxes with other menus – it is quite irritating when the search boxes are grouped together with the other features like the newsletter sections and the navigation menu etc. It gets really difficult for the users to differentiate between the search box and the newsletter or article search bar, and thus these two should be kept separately.

Overly designing the search boxes – don’t get swayed with our insistence on designing the search box in a way to make it stand out. Yes you need a clear and distinct representation of the search boxes, but do not over do the design at the cost of easy understanding and comprehension.

No need for advanced search facility – advanced search surely solves one purpose – it further makes it difficult for the users to perform the simpler search. Thus, do not offer advanced search facilities, unless you are catering to a skilled and aware set of users. If you aim to reach out to the users in general, keep the search options simple.

More than one button to submit the search – Quite interestingly, a few sites that we reviewed had more than one search submission buttons, i.e. both “go” and “find.” It is obviously unsettling as to which button to opt for.

If you follow the above mentioned tips and include the same in the website design, we are sure you will be able to optimize the performance of your website through effective search boxes.

Collection of some cool search box designs:


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About the author


Naaz is a web designer and loves to find new tips and tricks for creativity purposes and likes to share them with the people.


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