Elevate your business's sales potential through the strategic implementation of best practices in your product search experience.

People expect quick search results akin to Google's speed. Slow searches lead to product abandonment, a costly issue that Inc. reports costing eCommerce companies $300 billion annually.

Why your customers search

Business Benefits

Increased user engagement

Improved search findability encourages users to stay, explore, engage, and return, ultimately boosting profits through higher conversions and repeat visits.

Boosted upselling opportunities

Suggesting related products or content boosts up-selling, raising the average transaction value and overall revenue.

Reduced operational costs

Effectively finding solutions via search reduces customer support burdens, resulting in cost savings and improved operational efficiency.


Search bar

When prioritizing search functionality within a digital product, ensure a clear and easily recognizable search component.

Magnifying glass icon

Always include a magnifying glass icon alongside the search box, as it’s one of the few universally recognized icons that signifies 'search' often without the need for a textual label.


The optimal approach dictates a primary focus on minimizing scoping. However, if the site requires scoped search for subsites, all scoped search pages must clearly specify the scope being searched at the top of both the query and results pages, and provide a component to search the entire site or app, available on both the query and results pages. On the results page, it should be presented as a link such as 'Didn't find what you were looking for?’

Search experience

Effective defaults

Effective defaults reduce user effort, notably in repetitive or precision-driven tasks. Provide sensible default options aligned with real-world user objectives.

Recent and saved searches

A key usability principle is to minimize user effort. Therefore, websites or apps should retain and offer recent search history to expedite subsequent searches, saving users time and effort. This approach is particularly beneficial for digital products with repetitive user searches, greatly enhancing the overall user experience.

Query suggestions and instant results

Effectively applied with larger datasets, query suggestions guide users for confident match identification. Anticipating user intent, search-as-you-type results should be provided and user queries can be refined with search suggestions. In case of query suggestions, instead of instant results, users are presented with popular or relevant queries, optimizing data exploration. Users naturally prefer to use a system which require less effort.


Autocomplete streamlines search by suggesting queries as users type, allowing them to tap their desired phrase. It's a powerful Web 2.0 search pattern that minimizes data entry effort. To maximize its effectiveness, offer autocomplete suggestions as soon as possible, usually after the third character input, for immediate user value.

Voice search

Nearly any app with a search feature can incorporate voice search, making it particularly valuable for on-the-go usage. Furthermore, voice search aligns with the multitasking context of mobile app use, making it especially useful during activities like driving.

Typo tolerance

Prevent user frustration caused by typos and nonsensical queries. Implement typo tolerance to intelligently interpret user intent, correct typing and spelling errors in real-time as queries are entered.

Sort and filter

In advanced search, essential filtering options reduce screen clutter. Use a scrolling filter bar capable of accommodating numerous options. Effective filtering tools respond dynamically when users apply filters. Offer relevant filtering choices, allowing users to select multiple options per application. Maintain a clear distinction between sorting and filtering functions.

Poor connectivity anticipation

Address the reality of imperfect network coverage while ensuring a seamless search experience. Strategies to convey swift information retrieval include progress indicators like ticking clock icons or progress bars, skeleton screens with placeholders, or the implementation of lazy loading to prioritize and fetch content incrementally.


Search benefits from microinteractions (and animations), a technique known for communicating feedback delightfully. Microinteractions also serve to enhance the sense of direct manipulation, visualize results, and prevent errors.


Most relevant results

Due to device screen constraints, the most relevant search results should be prominently displayed. Assess the relevance using a comprehensive approach that combines textual and business ranking rules.

Scanning encouragement

Most people, especially those on the move, want to be able to quickly scan their search results. Utilizing highlighting as an aid in understanding the basis for specific results proves to be a valuable strategy. Standard highlighting, used for exact query matches, is particularly effective when presenting instant search results. Inverted highlighting, which emphasizes everything except the search query, facilitates the recognition of distinctions among suggestions. This technique finds ideal application in the context of query suggestions.

Personalized experience

Use AI tools for personalized eCommerce search, a strategy underutilized by most online retailers (1 in 8), despite its significant potential to boost conversions. Utilize user data to provide tailored recommendations, suggesting similar or complementary products for immediate purchase.

Search Patterns by Jeffery Callender and Peter Morville

Search is a defining element of the user experience…unfortunately, it’s also the source of endless frustration.”