Is the search button becoming obsolete

19 Nov 2010 - 4:13am
3 years ago
5 replies
1631 reads
Aen Tan
2010

General usability guidelines states users expect a search feature to contain besides the search field, a button labeled "search". Looking at recent designs of search, the button is disappearing. These lack the search button.

  • All Apple search, i.e. apple.com, Spotlight and iOS. They have a clear button. On iOS, the keyboard provides a search button.
  • Google Chrome. The address bar functions as a search and is activated by pressing Enter.

How much of a usability sacrifice is it to remove the search button in say interfaces that are compacted in a modal window?

Comments

19 Nov 2010 - 9:05am
monkeyshine
2010

I would guess that these examples favor iPad (or iPhone) where the virtual keyboard makes the button not so relevant.


On Fri, Nov 19, 2010 at 2:13 AM, Aen Tan <hello@aentan.com> wrote:

General usability guidelines states users expect a search feature to contain besides the search field, a button labeled "search". Looking at recent designs of search, the button is disappearing. These lack the search button.

* All Apple search, i.e. apple.com, Spotlight and iOS. They have a clear
 button. On iOS, the keyboard provides a search button.
* Google Chrome. The address bar functions as a search and is activated by
 pressing Enter.


How much of a usability sacrifice is it to remove the search button in say interfaces that are compacted in a modal window?

((
19 Nov 2010 - 4:33pm
bojcampbell
2010

My testing has confirmed that users still look for it, especially if their hand has already returned to the mouse.

1 Dec 2010 - 4:13am
Ali Naqvi
2008

A search button is indeed used on the intranet by a company's employees.

I've seen many employees using a search function in order to either find a person or a department.

 

1 Dec 2010 - 10:05am
dmitryn
2004

Depends on the context.

Even on iOS, where a Search button is provided on the keyboard, users may experience hesitation when they don't see a Search button next to the field.

This can be especially noticeable on the iPad, where the Search button is not called out with colour as a primary action the way it is on the iPhone.

A recent round of tests I ran on an iPad app showed this - about half the participants (most with prior iOS experience) were surprised/confused by a lack of a Search button next to the field.

Dmitry

1 Dec 2010 - 12:39pm
socialamigo
2010

I'm wondering if the use and/or comfort of Search buttons is anchored to any sort of demographic grouping - age, tech-savvy, digital-native, intranet vs. internet, content stream, etc., and would like to know if anyone has data to back-up their theories and/or findings.

Engagement- and UX-design, if done properly, would seem to mitigate the need for search features being right out front, especially in the pixel-crunch of smartphone apps. Still, for returning users wanting to jump down a level or for sites with large databases of products and services, a clear and obvious search field probably still makes sense.

socialamigo

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