EasyAsk Has a Sticky Search
September 29, 2016
When I first began reading the EasyAsk article, “Search Laboratory: Rock ‘n’ Roll Lab Rats” it has the typical story about search difficulties and the importance about an accurate, robust search engine. They even include video featuring personified search engines and the troubles a user goes through to locate a simple item, although the video refers to Google Analytics. The article pokes fun at EasyAsk employees and how they develop the Search Lab, where they work on improving search functions.
One of the experiments that Search Lab worked on is “sticky search.” What is sticky search? Do you throw a keyword reel covered in honey into the Web pool and see what returns? Is it like the Google “I Feel Lucky” button. None of these are correct. The Search Lab conducted an experiment where the last search term was loaded into the search box when a user revisited. The Search Lab tracked the results and discovered:
As you can see, the sticky search feature was used by close-to one third of the people searching from the homepage, but by a smaller proportion of people on other types of page. Again, this makes sense as you’re more likely to use the homepage as a starting point when your intention is to return to a previously viewed product. We had helped 30% of people searching from our homepage get to where they wanted to go more quickly, but added inconvenience to the other two thirds (and 75% of searchers across the site as a whole) because to perform their searches, rather than just tapping the search box and beginning to type they now had to erase the old (sticky) search term too.
In other words, it was annoying. Search Lab retracted the experiment, but it was a decent effort to try something new even if the results could have been predicted. Keep experimenting with search options SearchLab, but keep the search box empty.