How to Design Perfect Search Box in UX Design (User Experience Design)

BySarita Thakur May 12, 2019

Search Box? Does that even need a design? What is to design in two elements?

After all, a search box is just made of the input field and submit button. This is where we go wrong. As a matter of fact, outstanding search box design helps to transform the user experience.

It is also seen that on content dense websites, the search box is often the most sought after design element. When users find themselves trapped in complicated sites, they eye the search box to get to their desired page smoothly and effortlessly. Thus, the design of the search box is no joke.

If we look at the larger picture, the search bar integrates users with websites, apps and the world. It is a connecting link between the people and the app or website. It is the space where users get to show their needs by entering keywords with a hope to get relevant information and excellent user experience.

A well-designed search bar can go a long way to heighten conversion rates and user experience. In spite of such significance, the search bar ends up being neglected the most. Designers don’t even find it worth studying.

To give you some inspiration, this article is all about brushing up this element to reduce user time and make them achieve their goals-

Clear Display

If a search is a crucial function for your app/site you must place it in a stark clear position as that can be the easiest path for the users to spot it. It is necessary to show full open-text field as search lost behind an icon leads to search option being less prominent and thus raises the cost of interaction.

 Clear display image

Magnifying-glass Icon- A Must

Remember to use a magnifying-glass icon along with the search box. Icons are known to be a visual representation of an object, idea or action. There are some icons which are universally familiar to the users. Magnifying-glass icon also belongs to this category. Note: try to use a schematic icon, the most recognizable version of the magnifying glass. Small graphic details can add up to the recognition factor.

 search button animation image

Use Search Button

A button prompts people telling them that there is an additional way to undergo search action- even if they resort to pressing Enter. Remember to make the submit button of proper size so that the users are not bothered with accurate clicks. A large clickable space makes it simpler for users to locate and select. Allow users to file search using the Enter and by selecting the icon. A lot of users still are used to clicking an actual button to put forward the search.

 search button image

Constant Presence

The search box should be placed on every page because if your users get confused while looking for the content, they will rely on your search no matter wherever they are on your website.

Simplicity Works

If you are creating a search box, firstly, it should look like one and secondly, it should be as simple to use as possible. As per usability rules, it is more user-centric to not have advanced search options shown by default. Advanced search options like Boolean search query can puzzle the users who want to give it a shot. Fancy designs might seem attractive, but a simple search box design is a visual treat. The standard blue background and white search button, with the default prompt text, permits the users to swiftly and conveniently apply the search option.

 simple search bar image

Hint for Help

Search hint is a search bar made for the purpose of movies. Putting keywords within the app gives search results in real time.

As mobile phone gives access to limited screen area, the search results are displayed category-wise. It is beneficial for the purpose of conversion. In mobile apps, Search hint is a great feature to gain some search bar design inspiration.

hint for help image

Meet the Expectations

Searching for the search box hampers UX as it creates a bad impression on the users when they have to run their eyes for the search box for they can’t locate it easily. According to a survey, the most suitable position for users would be the top left or top right of every page on the website as users can easily spot it through the common F-shaped scanning method. So, it is better to keep a search box in the upper-right or upper-center area of your design and you’ll surely meet the expectations of the users.

They will take the expected route and discover the box. Make sure that the search box blends with the site’s overall design yet manages to be slightly prominent when the users require it. If you have massive content, it is best to make your search feature stand out. Also, if the search is needed for your site, go for contrast so that the field and icon emerge from the background and other supporting elements.

 youtube search bar image

Field Size Matters

Inappropriate input field with the short size is a common blunder made by the designers. No doubt, users can enter long queries, but only a part of the text will be shown at a given point of time and this thus results in bad usability as users are not able to review and change their query smoothly. Actually, when the search box gives access to a limited number of visible characters, users have to present short, ambiguous queries as longer queries would be difficult and unsuitable to read.

However, if input fields are made as per their expected input they are both simpler to read and understand for users. On average it is best to have a 27-characters text input as it can adjust 90% of queries. A smarter way can be to have a growing search box which enlarges the text input field on click. This will put the best use of screen space while giving the user sufficient visual hints to conveniently find and apply search.

 Search bar size image

Auto-suggestion Mode

Auto-suggestions support users in figuring out the relevant query by guessing it on the basis of the typed characters. Autosuggestion facility isn’t about making the search process quick rather it is about enlightening the user and assisting them in framing a coherent search query. Generally, users are very bad at constructing queries.

If they don’t get apt results the very first time, they are unlikely to succeed in the later attempts. When autocomplete suggestions are good at predicting, they help the user in formulating clearer search queries. Google searches have a great command over this pattern, having applied it since 2008. As users are in the habit of finding the same things repeatedly, by keeping search history, Google reduces time and brings out a more satisfying experience. Note: your auto-suggestions must be valuable.

Poorly framed auto-suggestions can puzzle and divert the users. Let the mechanism have spelling auto-corrections, detection of root words and parallel text so as to enhance the tool. Try to make the auto-suggestions frequency as quick as possible like after every third character or so in order to obtain an immediate result and lessen data entry hassles. Give less than 10 items at a time to avoid information overboard. Enable the keyboard navigation to float on the list of suggestions.


Once a user lands on the last item, they should be able to bounce back to the top of the list. The Esc key should permit users to dismiss the list. Make sure to distinguish the entered information and suggested results i.e. input text can have standard font whereas suggested info can have the bold font.

 autosuggestion mode image

Search Scope

It is advisable to have a sample search query in the input field to guide the users on what can be the scope of the function. If the user wants multiple criteria, bring into force the input hint pattern to clarify. HTML5 makes it convenient to stick text that acts as a placeholder inside the input field. Remember to cut your cue to just a few words else you will be piling up the cognitive load.

Interactive Style

The search button can be made interesting. On selection, the search button will transform into a bright input cursor, persuading the user to conduct a search operation and will add visual appeal to the search.

search bar style image

Omnibox Says it All

The latest Chrome design update incorporates Omnibox in the search bar design. With it, you can read the answer straightaway in the address bar without going for a new tab. Further, if you enter a website in the address bar, Chrome will inform you if it is already open and will enable the users to shift to the page automatically with the help of ‘switch to the tab’.

Engage with Animations

This search animation feature allows amusing animation of the search box and the search button along with accurate keyword matching. As against the usual unexciting search function, this innovation expects to bring in some zing to search bar design for designers and developers.

Search is a primary function and has a major role in a content-oriented app or site. Small changes like a suitable size for the input field or telling what information can fit in the search field can contribute majorly in expanding search usability with well-rounded UX. Work on your search functionality to make it frictionless. Hope the above points will help you carve the best search experience for your users.

Conclusion

Search is a primary function and has a major role in a content-oriented app or site.  Small changes like a suitable size for the input field or telling what information can fit in the search field can contribute majorly in expanding search usability with well-rounded UX. Work on your search functionality to make it frictionless. Hope the above points will help you carve the best search experience for your users.

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