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Search Doesn't Have To Suck

13 Aug 2004

Over the past year, I’ve evaluated the search experiences on a number of popular content sites. With the help of author and interface designer Darcy DiNucci, I picked apart the search and result designs from sites like Apple.com, NASA.gov, SchwabFoundation.org, and a variety of others. We focused on content sites, rather than e-commerce or Web applications, and we avoided general Web search engines entirely.

What we found won’t surprise you: search sucks on most sites. But we also drew a number of best practices from our research along with a bunch of advice for what to avoid. I summarized them in an essay on the Adaptive Path site titled, “8 Quick Ways to Fix Your Search Engine”.

All of the research, findings, and analysis are compiled in a report that you can learn more about here. You download a free excerpt of the report there, and see a few screenshots of pages. And you can buy it online for US$149, and knock 15 percent off of that by using discount code SEARCHDEAL when checking out. What a deal!

I’m eager to hear any comments or criticisms, since this was a big, messy pile of work that took a lot of time and effort to pull together. But I’m really proud of the results, and am confident that people working on content Web sites will find them useful. ​


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