When you think of designing mobile apps or mobile websites, you would always consider on how you would improve user experience. What can I add to enhance browsing experience on mobile? What will make users stay and look around?
Most of the time, we neglect one important feature: that is the SEARCH BAR. We don’t give much thought on how to design it, where to place it, and how to show the results. These things may seem unimportant to us, designers, but it makes a huge impact to the users.
Just Ask Google.
A search function is one significant mobile feature. It is instrumental in showing how engaging and helpful the entire mobile site or mobile app. Ask yourself, what makes Google so special? Why is it the leading search engine today? The answer is pretty simple. Google is able to provide answers. When you search, it is able to give relevant results. Thus, people keep patronizing the product because Google does not make it difficult to search. With just one click, you have answers to pretty much anything.
The Old Way of Searching.
During the 1990s to early 2000s, it was difficult to search for songs. I can attest to that because back then, there were no streaming sites such as Spotify, Youtube, SoundCloud, and etc. People would rip songs from actual CDs and download them to your computer through the Windows Media Player.
Now, you just search using Google and it will give you options on where to stream your favorite song. Searching does not take much effort from the user. It’s not just the Google that has a comprehensive search because mobile apps have them too!
Is it really necessary to add search function in a mobile website or app? Isn’t it a bit redundant? I will discuss why adding a search bar is essential in today’s mobile world.
Mobile Search Is a MUST!
When you browse websites, there’s always been a search bar. It has been a constant fixture, but people might not see its true value. Search bars are perceived differently than how it is actually used. According to NeilPatel.com, people were asked about the search function and 60% of them opt to navigate rather than search. Additionally, 47% of them wants to search with filter rather than your usual search function.
On desktops, navigating may be easier than searching. No wonder why people chose to navigate instead. Websites have different menus and it is pretty easy to locate the different sections of a website. Plus, when you search, you can filter your options. It really takes no effort to search for the things you want.
However, the mobile version is a different story. The purpose is now different. People switched to mobile because they want things fast, condensed, and comfortable. They don’t have to time to look for menus, view this, or download that. Since mobile screens limit the space, you can’t really add over-the-top design features. This is exactly why your mobile site or app needs a search function.
What sites need a search bar?
- News related sites, including blogs, forums, and online platforms;
- Retail websites that has a wide inventory of goods;
- Productivity apps in order to search for important dates, appointments, schedule, and records;
- Online booking for hotels, restaurants, and car rentals;
- Even dating apps need one in order to find the right match.