Using full categories navbar in SRP, yes or no?

20 Jun 2008 - 7:13am
7 years ago
4 replies
563 reads
Guillermo Ermel
2008

Hello folks.

I'm assisting the design team to create an e-commerce website. The
website has a few hundred items, with the typical product-category left
navigation bar in the home page and listings page, with 10 to 20
categories and probably subcategories. Also typical, when browsing
categories with that left navbar, you get the usual "you are here"
visual feedback in it.

The website also has a product search input box on every page.

Designers want to have the left category navbar on the Search results
page (SRP), but I'm not sure it'll be useful there.

I'm trying to find arguments for and against using that categories
navbar in the search results page so I can help make a decision.

Any ideas?

Thanks!

--
Guillermo Ermel
Head of web usability
MercadoLibre.com

Comments

20 Jun 2008 - 1:44pm
Bryan J Busch
2006

On the Search Results Page, does the list of Categories help you
narrow the Search Results? (Hint: yes, it should).

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20 Jun 2008 - 10:20am
Spencer Nowak
2008

Guillermo,
I'm still a student, so take anything I say with a grain of salt.
That said, I might think about keeping the sidebar and using it as a
means to filter searches further. Depending on the weight your
sidebar has in the overall design, removing it altogether may be a
jarring change for some users.

If you decide to use it as a way to sift through search results by
category, you may want to add some subtle visual cues to indicate
that you are working with a smaller subset of the total site. Both
Amazon and Newegg display the number of results from each category in
the search sidebar, which I find helpful.

You know your users though - are they the type to get confused by the
disappearance of the sidebar? Will typical searches turn up enough
results to make categories useful on the search page? If users are
dissatisfied with the results of the search, is there an easy way to
get back to a page with the category sidebar?

--Spencer

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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21 Jun 2008 - 8:22am
usabilitymedic
2008

At the very least, retaining the left nav category list means a the
user has a quick way back to meaningful information if the search
results do not satisfy as intended. If the left nav is not present,
it's 2 clicks to get to meaningful info (back button, then nav
selection)

On Jun 20, 2008, at 8:13 AM, Guillermo Ermel wrote:

Hello folks.

I'm assisting the design team to create an e-commerce website. The
website has a few hundred items, with the typical product-category
left navigation bar in the home page and listings page, with 10 to 20
categories and probably subcategories. Also typical, when browsing
categories with that left navbar, you get the usual "you are here"
visual feedback in it.

The website also has a product search input box on every page.

Designers want to have the left category navbar on the Search results
page (SRP), but I'm not sure it'll be useful there.

I'm trying to find arguments for and against using that categories
navbar in the search results page so I can help make a decision.

Any ideas?

Thanks!

--
Guillermo Ermel
Head of web usability
MercadoLibre.com
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21 Jun 2008 - 11:34am
Jared M. Spool
2003

On Jun 20, 2008, at 8:13 AM, Guillermo Ermel wrote:

> I'm assisting the design team to create an e-commerce website. The
> website has a few hundred items, with the typical product-category
> left navigation bar in the home page and listings page, with 10 to
> 20 categories and probably subcategories. Also typical, when
> browsing categories with that left navbar, you get the usual "you
> are here" visual feedback in it.
>
> The website also has a product search input box on every page.

Guillermo,

If you only have a few hundred items, then you should be avoiding
sending people to search. The odds of them entering a term that your
engine can match to something they want gets slimmer with the fewer
items you have to search for.

Instead, it sounds like a multi-level category listing that displays
all (or most) of the items will serve you best.

I'd recommend you try that approach and not invest too much in the
search results.

Jared

Jared M. Spool
User Interface Engineering
510 Turnpike St., Suite 102, North Andover, MA 01845
e: jspool at uie.com p: +1 978 327 5561
http://uie.com Blog: http://uie.com/brainsparks

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