Search functionalities on websites are often not up to the task. Filters are an essential part of improving online experiences, but they are limited. Following smart guidelines is essential, but it is not quite enough for a Great User Experience.

When customers visit a website, they want to have an easy search experience. Search functionalities should be well thought of. Most online businesses offer a search box together with filtering options to give users more flexibility in their search. However both of these have their limits:

Search Box limitation

Based on users’ input of Keywords, the search box is used to get a list of results. However, this list of results often contains unwanted results. This is because, unlike a human, a computer doesn’t understand the context of a search. Lots of research is going on (machine learning, deep learning, etc.), but we are not there yet. Experts mention that Artificial Intelligence may never be able to match a human brain, at least it will not happen any time soon (not before several decades). So if you have an online business, or planning to set up one, you shouldn’t count on the search box alone regarding search functionalities, especially if your catalog is big.

Filters limitations

Filters are a good way to narrow down the search and help remove unwanted results. However, these filters are often limited, in numbers or flexibility-wise. As stated in my previous post, most e-commerce website offer poor search experience.
It is important to offer numerous filters, but it is also very important not to overwhelm the user. Econsultancy published an interesting paper about the best practice tips for a great UX .
That’s a good starting point for offering some decent UX.
But, even if you follow scrupulously these tips, search functionalities could be improved. For exemple, promoting important Filters on Top of the Product List. Or allowing users to apply multiple filter values of the same type. At Optim’Match, we have lots more ideas. And ways to implement them !