Every search bar looks like a URL bar to users

by @edent | , | 11 comments | Read ~17,480 times.

Computers would be so much better if they never had to deal with users, amirite?!!?

I remember, years ago, working on a mobile web service which had a URl bar - so users could tap in bbc.co.uk on their T9 keypads - and a separate search bar. I thought that was pretty nifty. But it turns out, users tried searching for URls and they tried going to "http:// When is the Next Bus?". Bloody users!!

Users find input bars confusing. A good example of this is Amazon's search bar. It faithfully records what everyone is searching for and uses that big data to suggest to other users what they might be interested in. Which leads to some "interesting" results.

Here's what happens if you start searching for `https://`

Search results for https in Amazon's autocomplete. Includes links to ebay and other stores.

Search results for https in Amazon's autocomplete. Includes links to ebay and other stores.

Search results for https in Amazon's autocomplete. Includes links to ebay and other stores.

(And, yes, I used an incognito browser so it wouldn't be polluted with my own demented midnight searches for corrugated iron flavoured pogo sticks.)

There are a few lessons to take away from this.

  • Users don't really understand interfaces
  • Computers don't really understand users
  • Big Data assumes that users are behaving in semi-rational manner

11 thoughts on “Every search bar looks like a URL bar to users

  1. Every search bar looks like a URL bar to users
    Link: shkspr.mobi/blog/2021/10/e…
    Comments: news.ycombinator.com/item?id=288639…

  2. султи says:

    блин, прикольное наблюдение, что люди в поисковые строки вбивают адреса сайтов, потому что хер отличишь от URL-бара браузера

    shkspr.mobi/blog/2021/10/e…

  3. This has to be the funniest UX observation I've seen in a while

  4. Victor says:

    This is one of the most curious UX cases I've seen lately 🧐

    Indeed, these two bars look similar so it's easy to mix them up

  5. what do they teach in schools??


  6. Oli Allen says:

    Could the suggestions come from product metadata rather than past user searches?

    Some are weirdly specific - e.g this one is the only one that autocompletes for that domain - seems unlikely that enough users would have searched for that and only that on playmobil.co.uk

    Screenshot of an Amazon search result for a website.



    1. Cricket says:

      Or, users looking at product metadata, wanting to go to a mentioned URL (maybe they didn't properly tag it), and then pasting it into their Amazon search box.

      Interestingly, I also found this when looking for this specific query

      https://i.imgur.com/AlqZTmL.png

      (for those not in the know, that's a direct competitor to Amazon in the UK)

  7. Jeremy Lu says:

    嗯嗯 這三點也是當年研究所剛出來做 UI 設計與 Information Architect 時最痛苦的領悟之一,更妙的是等很多年後自己開始寫程式後才驚訝的發覺其實工程師也不懂這些,然後世面上就充斥著各種寫的很爛用起來更爛的軟體產品...😌

    ( 不,二十年一眨眼過去情況還是沒改善🤡

    shkspr.mobi/blog/2021/10/e…

  8. InfoSec:
    Protect yourself from phishing by paying attention to the URL bar.

    The world:
    shkspr.mobi/blog/2021/10/e…

  9. Jan Hommes says:

    But what is the solution? Search bar at the bottom? shkspr.mobi/blog/2021/10/e…

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