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Nielsen Norman Research Group Reveals Growing Internet Search Idiosyncrasies

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When one needs to know more about a particular product, company or service, mostinternet users merely “Google” it and the first page of the search results come on display….but do they really get the most appropriate information?  With mostly “search-dependent” users in the internet, there is not much accurate data and most users are not even able to decipher even halfway complex concerns with search. This goes on to say that most users depend on the power of SEARCH, but do not exactly know how to use it effectively, hence, they are not able to take hold of what they really need in the first place. In fact, search practices have just gotten bad to worse over time, coming close to descriptions like “pathetic”, “useless” and incompetent.

Ironically, just when the internet has been the “know-it-all” resource, still there is not much accuracy and precision on the actual information gathered due to search idiosyncrasies.

According to the Nielsen Norman Group, a firm that focuses in computer user interface development and user experience recently released a study on the growing internet search discrepancies among internet users. The accuracy of data is not achieved because of incompetent search skills. Not finding what is being specifically searched after several tries, is perhaps the most frustrating user experience.

The Simpler the Search, the Better– In the study, it further revealed, searchers depend on search, but they do not know how to use it. People these days have been bombarded with new terminologies leading to queries that do not get them anywhere.  A well-designed search facility, a simpler and specific search method and more improved users’ search capabilities can pretty much make a difference. This was revealed in a test conducted on e-commerce sites showing an overall success rate with search at 74%, a more acceptable figure than the first attempt resulting to 64%. It further showed the level of difficulty on the search problems could greatly affect the success of the search. In essence, the probability of the search success drops from 64% to as low as 28% varying from simple and easy searches to the more complex ones.

Responsible Website Designing For Great Searches– Apart from the users’ reliance on their searching skills, search suggestions in the internet could prove helpful but could also be limiting. Most often, when some terms are not included in the search suggestions, users may not take time out to search for it even when it can provide otherwise. Businesses should be able to take upon themselves to present their website in a manner that it could guarantee a search-friendly approach, one that is effective, specific and accurate. If users are able to get what they asked for, those are exactly what they want, then they are happy and satisfied with the results of the search. In the study on Costco’s website, one user tried to search for a TV set and quickly searched for “television”. The search results page showed a specific category page for TV sets which highly include relevant features, brands, resolution, screen size and facets like plasma and LCD.

As far as the Costco search study was concerned, users were happy and satisfied – they got what they asked for in their search! Enform believes that only when users start having a good grasp on what effective searching really is and when businesses also improve their site’s interface, only then, can there be improved and successful online enterprise.

Regardless of the increasing sophistication of using search with the help of search engines, many irrelevant web pages are still produced. Along with all the other search engines, the typical approach to search still requires accuracy, skills and improved user interface.

“The ultimate search engine would basically understand everything in the world, and it would always give you the right thing. And we’re a long, long ways from that.”

–       Larry Page

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