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Search is no place to get creative

Creative people are good at coming up with original ideas. Also when they're working on a website. That's perfectly fine of course, provided they don't get too creative...

The screenshot below is from a webbuilder's site. Apparently somebody thought the standard search feature was in desperate need of an update. The result? A search feature that is unusable for the average surfer.

Screenshot 1

Unusable search feature

"Ah, a link to the search feature. Or is it?"

Screenshot 2

Search feature - screenshot 2

"Oops, it's a faulty link... No, wait a minute... What's that little white line doing there?"

Screenshot 3

Search feature: screenshot 3

"You can type on the line. That's unexpected. But wait a minute, where's the 'Search' button? Hmm, I guess I'll just press 'Enter'?"  

Screenshot 4

Search feature: screenshot 1

"Yes, it is a real search feature. Hmm, quite complicated..."

Did you get it?

Did you immediately catch on to how this search feature works?

If you did: congratulations. You didn't? Not to worry.

I showed it during a usability workshop to ten people, all professionally involved in the internet. None of them had a clue. None.

Keep search simple

A plain white type-in field of at least 25 characters long and a simple button that says 'Search' is something everybody recognizes and knows how to use.

Keep it simple, people.

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