Interactions that build relationships

Why Using a Search Bar on Your Website is the Best Way to Reach Young Adults

Why Using a Search Bar on Your Website is the Best Way to Reach Young Adults —

One search to rule them all: it replaces almost everything

With so many social media apps, notifications and dozens of open tabs, website designers really have to fight for young people’s attention these days. But it’s not just about getting their attention, it’s about keeping it long enough for users to perform the action you want them to perform, and this critical time that can make or break a sale is measured in seconds.

 

So when designing a website, one of the main challenge we face is attention management.

 

As a business owner, you want your organic marketing efforts and ad spends to convert into leads, subscribers and buyers.

Young people (18-25 year-olds) are digital natives. A lot of them grew up with a smartphone in their hands and now they are entering college, starting jobs, families, and they spend the majority of their time on the Internet.

 

Young people are your target market now and into the future.

 

They are not all tech experts, but they’ve used a few good apps and websites and a few really bad ones, so they know what a good interface is.

They like simple and functional sites like Google. In fact, they love Google. It’s just a search bar – everything you need on a search engine website, right? But in their world, sometimes a search bar is all you need, period. Because when they’re not on Google, they’re on YouTube, Facebook & Instagram. Search is an integral part of the digital experience.

Whether applying for a visa, ordering food or buying clothes, a search bar on your website can make or break a young adult user’s experience. 

It can be a central element of both sales pages and homepages. It acts as its own Call to Action by saying SEARCH ME, as well as a reference point.

 

It’s there on the homepage and on every page, so you can’t get lost

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Web Design

Muzli Search is a place where designers find visual inspiration and it is a great example of working with ambiguous content, which is borderline uncategorizable. Instead of trying to categorize the content, they created an extensive system of tagging it. Now, users can find something useful even using narrow and unusual keywords.

Another subtle but nice touch is to mark different types of keywords differently. So, when you type in a colour name you see the colour itself in suggestions.

 

Your search functionality needs to be obvious, immediately recognizable and well-designed.

 

The flipside to young adults’ digital proficiency is that they are not prepared to let it be put to test by trivial things and ineffective design. 

As product creators, we have to give them all the answers they need, otherwise, they’re likely to give up. When something doesn’t work, they blame the interface of the product and its creators and designers rather than blame themselves like older adults might. Generation Z is aware that there are people behind the product they can call out on Twitter. The principle of intuitiveness and predictability is important for search and website navigation in general.

 

This means having cleverly thought-out suggestions and relevant results.

 

And also a clear and effective design that stands out but doesn’t get in the way of functionality. Make it simple to filter the results, but don’t have too many options to choose from. It is good practice to repeat the query in the reach box on the search results page, to make it easy to modify the search.

 

Below is an example of Uber search. Simplicity, informativeness, and anticipation are the key here. It is immediately clear what type of keywords you should use to search (hello, thoughtful placeholder text)
Even before you start typing anything, you see suggestions, which is helpful.
And in search results, I can see not only the info that is available for this particular city, but also sees that Travel Times and New Mobility could be in place, but not for Berlin yet.

And here’s how Booooom.com goes about their search functionality. The search bar becomes a prominent and original part of the design. They put the search icon in the bar right next to traditional menu navigation, emphasizing that search is still the primary function here.

 

Unsplash, a go-to website when you need royalty-free photos, uses the search bar placeholder text to explain what type of content to expect In a way, they emphasise their service in that text.

Search tends to replace the more traditional way of navigating through content — breaking it down to categories and subcategories and then filtering truly feels tiresome.

 

So whether your website is a media website or a blog, an e-commerce store or an international organization’s careers page, include a search bar, make it visible and responsive. Don’t expect that your shop categories will make sense to that particular mind. If they don’t find what they’re looking for they might leave directly to your competitor.

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