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Site search best practice tips - tips for mobile search

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At Colbenson we like to share our expertise in e-commerce site search and this is the first in a series of Site Search Best Practice tips: Top Ten Tips for Mobile Commerce Search ...

At Colbenson we like to share our expertise in e-commerce site search and this is the first in a series of Site Search Best Practice tips: Top Ten Tips for Mobile Commerce Search

The mobile channel has challenges that affect how we must design the search experience, but it also has advantages. Designing a great mobile search experience isn't just about dealing with the negative, it's about maximizing the potential of the positive side of mobile.

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Site search best practice tips - tips for mobile search Site search best practice tips - tips for mobile search Document Transcript

  • SearchBroker  by  Colbenson  www.colbenson.com          Site  Search  Best  Practice  Tips    At  Colbenson  we  like  to  share  our  expertise  in  e-­‐commerce  site  search.  On  our  website  we  have  stacks  of  information  and  useful  content  to  help  you  maximize  the  potential  of  site  search  in  your  online  store.      Top  Ten  Tips  for  Mobile  Commerce  Search    The  smartphone  mobile  channel  has  three  main  challenges  that  affect  how  we  must  design  the  search  experience:    The  small  screen:  the  "above  the  fold"  problem  is  even  more  acute  with  so  little  space  on  the  screen  to  display  what  the  customer  is  looking  for.    Touch-­‐screen  controls:  we  dont  have  precision  clicking,  buttons  and  controls  need  to  be  the  size  of  fingertips.    Bandwidth:  most  smartphone  web  access  is  via  a  mobile  signal  which  can  be  painfully  slow.    But  the  mobile  channel  also  has  some  advantages.  Most  of  all  it  is  free  of  the  physical  constraints  of  other  channels,  and  this  means  it  has  opportunities  that  other  channels  cannot  offer.    Here  are  our  top  ten  tips  for  designing  your  mobile  channel  search:    1. Start  with  the  customer:  Watch  how  your  customers  use  the  search  function,  look  at  the  words  and  phrases  they  use  -­‐  including  the  mistakes  they  make.  Understanding  their  behaviour  is  even  more  important  in  mobile  than  in  other  channels.    2. Visible  search  box:  Mobile  users  often  expect  to  have  to  search  within  a  site  to  find  the  right  content,  so  make  it  easy  to  find  the  search  box,  even  when  they  have  scrolled  down  the  front  page  content.  If  necessary,  have  multiple  search  boxes.    3. Pre-­‐loaded  results:  Based  on  your  customer  analytics,  pick  just  a  few  top  searches  to  have  already  loaded  into  the  code  of  the  main  page.  This  means  your  AutoComplete  will  be  able  to  offer  those  suggestions  as  soon  as  the  
  • SearchBroker  by  Colbenson  www.colbenson.com  customer  types  without  you  having  to  perform  a  search.  This  greatly  speeds  up  the  experience.    4. Anticipate  typos:  Use  the  customer  analytics  to  understand  the  common  mistakes  and  shortcuts,  these  are  even  more  common  on  mobiles!  Make  sure  you  have  these  associated  with  the  right  content.  Customer  patience  is  much  thinner  on  the  mobile  channel!    5. Simple  AutoComplete:  Dont  overcomplicate  how  the  autocomplete  function  works.  In  general,  linking  to  content  rather  than  search  results  is  preferred,  but  often  on  mobile  this  isnt  the  case.  The  extra  step  of  having  to  see  a  search  results  page  can  be  the  better  option  as  it  keeps  the  user  more  in  control  of  their  experience.    6. Chunky  controls:  Touch  screen  means  that  interfaces  need  to  work  with  fingers  not  mouse  clicks.  Simple  and  clear  controls  make  the  user  experience  smoother,  and  keep  different  functions  apart  to  minimize  people  pressing  the  wrong  button.    7. Simple  results  pages:  What  you  need  to  include  will  vary  by  sector,  but  in  general,  keep  things  as  simple  as  you  can  and  strip  out  unnecessary  images  and  functionality.    8. Always  learn:  Make  sure  your  search  engine  is  a  learning  engine,  always  adjusting  the  content  and  suggestions  it  displays  according  to  user  behaviour.  Search  is  dynamic,  because  its  driven  by  customers,  so  your  system  must  be  able  to  learn,  adapt  and  predict  what  your  customers  are  going  to  do  next.    9. Make  it  easy  to  share  via  social  media:  The  mobile  channels  are  the  most  effective  for  recommendations  and  social  sharing,  so  make  it  easy  for  people  to  share  what  they  find  with  their  social  networks.    10. Look  for  the  mobile  advantage:  Mobile  is  not  stuck  to  one  location,  this  means  there  are  loads  of  opportunities  to  innovate:  use  of  augmented  reality,  searches  like  "is  there  a  store  near  me?"  can  be  really  effective,  or  "shoes  like  these"  using  the  camera  for  a  visual  search  for  shoes  of  a  similar  style.        Mobile  is  a  great  challenge  but  an  even  greater  opportunity,  and  with  customers  often  way  ahead  of  retailers,  the  pressure  is  on  to  get  an  effective  channel  that  delivers  for  customers.