Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Search should support navigation not replace it - especially for older users

The newsletter from Nielsen Norman Group is always worth reading and the most recent edition even more than normal.

The impact of ageing on the way we use web sites is huge. It is not fully understood, but from what we know it means that many companies are unintentionally losing business  because of their hopeless navigation and overall Web design. Older people just give up trying to find what they are looking for and go somewhere else.

Too often designers respond that there is always search (i.e. An unspoken belief that the need for decent navigation is in decline).

Sorry but I don't buy that argument. More importantly, neither do the authors of the newsletter as witnessed in their article 'search is not enough'.

In the same way as we over-estimate the ability of older consumers to understand their financial affairs the same applies to their knowledge of using search - another article from NNg.

A personal observation about how companies use onsite search is that how they present the results is normally hopeless. I have lost count of how many times I have exited the company web site, gone to Google and searched, and then found what I was looking for. Dick Stroud

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