We have just covered the area of results in the previous post, I hope that was fun, you are still here. That means you are ready for more, awesome! Let’s get into it. Here is the fifth part in the series Design Elements of Search, landing pages, whatever can it be?
A blog series – Six posts about Design Elements of Search
- The Search Bar
- Autocomplete Suggestions
- Landing page <– You are here
- Zero-results page
A word on Technology and Relevance – a disclaimer
Equally important as having a good user interface is having the right technology and the right relevance model set-up. I will not cover technology and relevance in this blog series. If you wish to read more, these topics is well covered by Findwise since before: Improve search relevancy and Findwise.com/technology.
Designing Landing Pages
What normally happens when you click a search result? The answer seems obvious, you are sent to that document or that webpage or that product. Easy peasy.
However, during my years of consulting, I have come across multiple cases where we don’t know where to send users, because there is no obvious destination. Consider a result for an employee, a product, a process or a project. Sometimes there is no existing holistic view for these information objects. In these cases, we suggest building that holistic view in something we at Findwise call landing pages. When we use landing pages for certain results, users remain inside the search application when they click a result like this. Unlike a traditional search interfaces that sends users away to another application, or document.
Paving the path
On landing pages, we show relationships between a variety of information objects we have in the search index. Let me describe it this way.
Sarah works as an architect. In her daily work she needs to be up to date regarding certain types of projects within her area of expertise. Therefore, Sarah is now doing research on how a certain material was used in a certain type of construction. She searches for “concrete bridges” and sees that there are 12 project results. Sarah looks over the results and clicks the third project and sees the landing page for that project. Here, she can see high level information about the project, and also see who the project members have been. Sarah sees Arianna Fowler and also more people. Sarah is curious about the person Peter Fisher because that name sounds familiar. She now sees the landing page for Peter. Here she can see all the projects Peter has been working on. She sees Peters most recent documents. She sees his close collogues. Sarah sees that Peter has been working in multiple projects that has used concrete as the main material. However, when she calls Peter, she learns he is not available right now. Therefore, Sarah decides to call Peters closest colleague. The system has identified close colleagues by knowing how many projects people have been working on together. Sarah calls Donna Spencer instead, because Donna and Peter has collaborated in 12 projects in the last five years. Sarah gets to know everything she needed and is left in a good mood.
Your specific use case determines what information makes sense to show in these landing pages. Whatever you choose, you will set your users up for interesting paths of information finding and browsing, by connecting at least two information objects with landing pages. See illustration below.
When you look past the old way of linking users directly to documents and systems and instead making it possible to find unexpected connections between things. You have widened the definition of what enterprise search can be. This is a new way of delivering value to your organization using search.
This marks the end of the fifth part, next up you’ll read about what happens when a search yields zero results, and what you should do about that.