In my last post, I explained the benefits of site search and why your law firm should consider adding it to your website. I also mentioned how successful implementation and following best practices can help increase your conversions and overall revenue.
For this post, I’d like to expand on that and discuss site search best practices to ensure your visitors have an amazing user experience. Here are some specific areas to focus on.
Design Your Search Box with the Right Dimensions
The first thing to consider is how you’ll design your search box. And the size is something you want to get just right.
Search Site 360 performed extensive research and found, “You will want to make your search box wide enough so that it can contain at least 26 characters, which covers 95 percent of all queries.”
In terms of dimensions, 234 pixels wide and 34 pixels high is the sweet spot. This will ensure that it’s long enough to accommodate nearly all searches but isn’t so long that it’s obnoxious and takes up unnecessary space.
Add a Magnifying Glass Icon
Site search best practices are all about simplifying your visitors lives and helping them find information with as little effort as possible. And most web design experts agree that adding a magnifying glass icon to your search box is a great way to do that.
It’s a universally recognized symbol and instantly lets users know your legal sites offers site search. Some brands even use a magnifying glass icon by itself.
Place Your Search Box in an Anticipated Location
Site Search 360 references a separate study by A. Dawn Shaikh and Keisi Lenz that examines the ideal location for a search box. What they found was that most people expected to find it in the top right-hand corner, followed by the top left-hand corner.
Here’s a graph that illustrates their findings in percentages.
To keep the site search process as fluid as possible, you’ll want to stick with one of these two locations.
Surround Your Search Box with Negative Space
Visibility is essential here. Your law firm’s visitors shouldn’t have to struggle to find your search box and enter their query. It should be conspicuous.
That’s why it’s important to have some negative space surrounding it so that it doesn’t get jumbled up with other text or graphics.
Account for Typos
People will inevitably make mistakes when using site search, and typos will happen quite frequently. So it’s vital that you have a strong tolerance for misspellings.
For example, users should get the same results if they typed in “parctice areas” — a misspelling — that they would if they correctly typed in “practice areas.” This will help prevent disruptions and keep the search process running smoothly.
Getting it Right
There’s a lot that goes into site search best practices, and you certainly don’t want to overlook anything. The points I discussed here should cover the basics and help deliver a great user experience. And if you’re looking for more details, I recommend checking out this guide from Prefixbox that fully covers the ins and outs of site search.
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