In this sprint, you will design your user experience. This is your blueprint for how you want your users to interact with your search and discovery experience. Once you’ve completed the tasks below, you can move onto the next sprint.
Depending on the size of your company, some of these roles may be the same person. This sprint it is important we identify these roles and get in contact with them.
Planning and project oversight
Product vision, planning, prioritizing and management
Create experiences for users via design prototyping
Build application and visual and interactive elements
To have a clear end goal for your team, you need to map out exactly what you want your users to see at each stage of their search journey. There is a large ecosystem of design software—more professional offerings include Figma and InVision Studio, but you can just as easily use Miro or even a piece of paper. When designing the UX, you should keep accessibility guidelines in mind. You should also ensure that the experience you are designing keeps mobile in mind and that your design works well across all screen sizes.
If you’re not sure where to start, check out the Algolia inspiration library. For e-commerce use cases, you can rely on UI Design Kit for best practices. It includes predefined yet customizable components and is available in the Figma community.
Each of the sections below details a stage in the user’s journey and includes some questions to ask when designing.
Finding the search bar
The larger the search bar, the higher the engagement. It's always better to present the search bar in a ready-to type state, not hidden by an icon. Traditionally, users look for search bars in the top right hand corner of the screen.
- Where can the user access the search bar?
- Will this be animated?
- Does the text placeholder tell the user what they can search for?
Before performing a search
As soon as users interact with the search bar, they receive feedback. This is the opportunity to provide further prompts and promotions to your users. It could be in the form of user search history, trending products, or suggest search terms.
- What happens when the user clicks on the search bar?
- Do you offer recent searches? (These are offered as a plugin with our autocomplete library)
- Do you offer the user frequently accessed content?
Typing in the search bar
For desktop websites, there are two main patterns that provide users with an as-you-type experience: instant search and autocomplete.
Instant search puts your results front and center and removes the need for a separate result page. This works well for results with good visuals and for site search. See this ecommerce example from our inspiration library.
Autocomplete, in contrast, provides an overlay where you can federate information from multiple sources. See this federated search example from our inspiration library.
On mobile, the interaction interface is more prone to error. Query suggestions are the best way to get a user to results that are relevant to their intent.. They help users type less and get to results more quickly. See this example from our inspiration library.
- What happens when the user types in the search bar?
- Have you included query suggestions? (Algolia offers these out of the box).
- Do you show different types of results in a federated search?
Search Results Page
For desktop experiences, it’s traditional to find facets on the left hand side. Over the last few years, fashion retailers have begun to use drop downs above the results. The latter option reduces engagement but provides more space to display products.
For mobile experiences filters are often in a separate panel.
- How do you display results to the user?
- Do you offer the user facets so they can further refine their search?
- How is each of the facet values be presented?
- Can a user clear all facet selections at once?
- Are you helping the user easily navigate results, for example by displaying the number of results and pagination)?
- Do you offer a ‘sort by’ so a user can sort their results?
- Are you using hierarchical categorization so the user can easily refine their results?
- Have you checked the widget showcase to see what’s available?
- Do you want to show banners on a homepage, search results pages, or category pages ?
No Results Page
Sometimes users may search for products or content that doesn’t exist in your catalog. Rather than presenting irrelevant results, it’s best to provide them with a helpful no results page that shows other options for a continued journey.See this example of a no results page.
- What do you show to the user when there are no results?
- Are you providing good call-to-actions to keep the user on their journey, for example by showing bestsellers, other categories, or hints for how to search?
- Is it clear what the query leading to no results is?
Users interact with your site by clicking on search results, viewing category pages, or adding items to a shopping cart. Capturing these user events lets you understand more about your users and unlocks advanced features and functionality. Algolia calls these user events Insights events.
Now is the appropriate time to plan which user events insights to send so you can implement them without friction later on.
You can do this directly in your mock ups as seen here, or you can make a copy of this template to note down which events you would like to include. This documentation explains which events need you need to send Refer to this documentation for a list of event types.