How to design a smart search box for your website

Howto design a smart search box for your website

You have a great website and now you have to make sure those who browse it can easily find their way around.

You know that people don’t have the time to read each and every page in search of what they need. You also know that you need to make their lives easier by designing a smart search box. But how do you do it?

Stick with us and we’ll make sure to explain to you how to do this and ensure that your customers quickly and easily find what they are looking for.

What is a search box?

A search box, also known as a search bar or search field, is a common user interface element found on many websites, applications, and digital platforms.

Its primary function is to allow users to input search queries or keywords to find relevant information or content within the system. Usually, search boxes are accompanied by a search button or an icon that users can click or tap to do the search.

Key components and functions of a search box

According to the most recent retail data, 43% of users on retail websites go directly to the search bar. That’s why you should make sure yours functions well.

Before you go on and start designing your search box, you should be aware of its key components and functions. These include:

  • An input field: This is the text entry area where users can type the keywords or phrases they want to search for.
  • A search button: Typically, this is a clickable button or an icon located next to the input field. When users enter keywords, they can click the button to initiate the search. In some cases, pressing the “Enter” key on the keyboard can also trigger the search.
  • Autosuggestions: Many search boxes are designed to provide auto-suggestions while the users are typing their search queries. These suggestions often appear in a dropdown list below the input field and can help users refine their search or find popular queries related to their input.
  • Predictive text: Search boxes may also incorporate predictive text or “autocomplete” features. As users type, the search box tries to predict and complete the query based on popular or relevant search terms.
  • Search results: Once the search is initiated, the system processes the query and displays a list of results that match the search criteria. These results can include web pages, products, articles, images, videos, or any other content within the system’s database.
  • Filters and advanced search options: Some search boxes can offer advanced filtering options and allow users to refine their search by categories, date, location, or other criteria. This can be especially useful for complex or large websites.
  • Voice search: With the rise of voice-activated digital assistants like Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa, many search boxes now support voice search, allowing users to verbally request information or perform searches.

Why do you need a well-designed search box on your website?

In practice, search boxes are a critical element of user experience (UX) design.

They help users quickly find the information they’re looking for within a website or application. When well-designed, search boxes can truly enhance user satisfaction.

Conversely, a poorly designed search box can frustrate your users and prevent them from accessing whatever they are looking for.

Yet, in most cases, customers won’t even bother telling you they’re unhappy — only 1 in 26 unhappy customers complain. The rest just stop doing business with you.

So, it’s paramount that the placement, functionality, and design of your search boxes are your top priority.

A well-designed, smart search box on your website:

  • Improves user experience by helping users find content and information quickly.
  • Facilitates efficient navigation and allows users to bypass menus.
  • Provides accessibility to vast amounts of content on your site.
  • Increases user engagement and reduces bounce rates.
  • Is essential for e-commerce websites looking to boost revenue and sales.
  • Prevents user frustration and encourages retention.
  • Enhances mobile usability, especially in the context of small screens.
  • Grants access to archived content, especially in the case of news or blog sites.
  • Offers personalization and tailored search experiences.
  • Provides valuable analytics and insights.
  • Can benefit SEO through improved indexing.
  • Helps you attract users seeking better search experiences.

We believe this is more than enough to convince you that you truly need an amazing search box on your website. Keep reading to find out the difference between a traditional and an AI-powered search box.

Traditional search box vs. AI-powered search box

Now before we move on to sharing tips on how to design a smarter search box for your website, let’s first make a distinction between two types of search boxes — a traditional search box and an AI-powered search box.

Here’s a quick breakdown:

Traditional search box

AI-powered smart search box

Keyword matching: Traditional search boxes rely on exact or keyword-based matching. They search for documents or content that contain the exact keywords entered by the user. User intent recognition: AI-powered search boxes are designed to understand and interpret user intent, going beyond keyword matching to understand the context, semantics, and purpose behind a query.
Static ranking: Results are typically ranked based on criteria like keyword frequency or metadata, and this ranking often remains static. The most common approach is to present results in descending order of relevance based on these criteria. Dynamic ranking: AI search boxes use sophisticated algorithms that continuously analyze user interactions and adapt result rankings. This way, the most relevant and up-to-date content is presented to your users.
Limited context awareness: Traditional search boxes often can’t understand the context or intent behind a user’s query. They primarily focus on matching keywords, which can lead to less accurate or relevant results. Real-time indexing and content relevance: AI search boxes leverage real-time indexing to rapidly incorporate new content into search results. They ensure that search results are tailored to the user’s context and preferences.
Lack of personalization: Traditional search boxes provide the same results to all users, regardless of their preferences or previous interactions. There is no personalization based on individual user behavior. Personalization: AI search boxes can provide personalized results based on a user’s previous interactions, preferences, and behavior. They adapt to individual users and offer a unique search experience.
Handling variations: They may struggle to handle variations in user queries, such as synonyms, related terms, or common misspellings, which can lead to users missing relevant content. Handling variations: AI search boxes excel in handling synonyms, related terms, and common misspellings, ensuring that users receive relevant results even if their search queries are not precisely formulated.
Voice search: Traditional search boxes may not be well-suited for voice search, as they primarily rely on text-based keyword matching. Voice search: AI search boxes often support voice search, allowing users to conduct searches using natural language through voice commands.

The benefits of implementing AI-powered search

Now that you know more about the challenges and limitations of implementing a traditional search box, let’s move on and explore the benefits of implementing AI search a bit further.

In addition to what we’ve already outlined in the paragraph above, here are some key benefits of implementing an AI-powered search box:

  • AI-powered search can help users discover new content, products, or services that they might not have found through traditional search methods.
  • Thanks to advanced algorithms, AI search boxes can provide more relevant results even when keywords don’t perfectly match the content.
  • AI search is designed to scale efficiently to handle vast amounts of customer data and adapt to the growing content of websites and applications.
  • Multimodal search is another great benefit of AI search. It can handle various types of content, including text, images, audio, and video, allowing users to search for content in their preferred format and get relevant results.
  • In the context of e-commerce, AI search can boost your e-commerce platform by providing more accurate product recommendations, improving search filters, and increasing conversion rates.
  • When it comes to boosting productivity in business, AI-powered search can help employees find relevant documents, information, or experts more easily.
  • Finally, with AI-powered search, you can automate tasks that traditionally require human intervention, such as categorization and tagging content.

Overall, AI search is great at addressing common limitations and providing more accurate, relevant, and personalized search results.

Smart search box design best practices

Now that you know all there is to know about smart search boxes, let’s explore how you can make yours even better. Some of the most important smart search box best practices to take into consideration include:

  • Clear and user-friendly search box design,
  • Proper iconography and labeling implementation,
  • Responsive button design and strategic placement,
  • Typography and color choices that align with AI aesthetics, and
  • The implementation of Things Solver’s AI Search.

#1 Clear and user-friendly search box design

Regardless of the type of your smart search box, a clear and user-friendly search box design is a must-have. It’s the foundation of an effective search experience. Some tips to have in mind:

  • Display your search box prominently on your website and make sure it’s easily distinguishable.
  • Make sure it’s of a simple and uncluttered design — typically a rectangular text input field with a clear border or background can make it stand out.

By investing in a clean design, you’re making sure that users can quickly locate the search function on your website and interact with it without any confusion. Your customers will be thankful for a seamless user experience.

#2 Proper iconography and labeling implementation

Adequate iconography and proper labeling add an extra layer of user-friendliness to your smart search box.

The clearer it is for a customer to access your search box, the higher the chances of their search ending in a purchase.

  • For example, you can incorporate familiar search icons — a magnifying glass or a search symbol — within or next to the search box to visually convey its function.  
  • Alongside the icon, include a concise label like “Search” or “Search Here” to leave no doubt about the purpose of the search box.

In the context of AI branding, you can use design elements or icons that reflect AI or technology to create a sense of modernity and innovation.

#3 Responsive button design and strategic placement

If you choose to include a smart search button in your website design, ensure that it’s visually distinct from the search input field.

The button should have a unique style or contrasting color that makes it stand out. It should also indicate the action of initiating the search.

Moreover, its placement should be strategic, and this is typically close to the search input field. The idea behind this is to reinforce the desired action and make it easy for users to click or tap.

Finally, don’t forget to ensure your search box’s responsiveness and adaptability to different screen sizes and devices. This is paramount for maintaining a consistent and user-friendly search experience at all times.

#4 Typography and color choices that align with AI aesthetics

Other important aspects of a smart search box are typography and color choices.

People have to be able to read what they have written in the search box, right?

To provide readability for them, make sure the text within the smart search box has a good contrast with the background. This ensures that users can clearly see what they are typing.

Moreover, maintain a consistent color scheme that aligns with AI aesthetics and your website’s overall design and branding. Harmonious color choices and legible typography contribute to an aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly smart search box.

#5 The implementation of Things Solver’s AI Search

Things Solver Smart Search
Things Solver AI Search

If you genuinely want to revolutionize your website’s search functionality, you should definitely try Things Solver’s AI Search.  It can truly propel it into the future with unparalleled efficiency and accuracy.

Here’s how:

An AI-powered smart search box embodies the essence of an advanced search engine, crucial for the success of any business. With Smart Search, you can guarantee an intuitive, fast, and precise search experience. This is your ticket to providing your shoppers with an effortless way to find what they seek.

Moreover, you don’t have to struggle with trying to accommodate multiple languages or alphabets. One of Smart Search’s primary strengths lies precisely in its multilingual proficiency. You don’t have to worry ever again about typos, misspelled words, or synonyms — Smart Search will ensure that your users find results even if their queries aren’t perfect.

Finally, since context is key in the world of smart search, we make sure to excel in understanding it. Whether your users input verbs, adjectives, or phrases, our AI-driven search engine can easily decipher the context and provide accurate and relevant results.

We know that a smart search box isn’t just about understanding queries — it’s about providing a customizable output. With attribute preferences and output setting options, Smart Search ensures that the results match your user’s expectations and your website’s objectives.

Your ultimate solution for a seamless search experience

Remember, the key to an effective AI-powered search box is not just the technology behind it but also the user experience it offers. Balancing these aspects will significantly enhance the utility and appeal of your smart search box.

Let’s work together to make that happen for you.

Since we believe that the future of search lies in AI, we want to put our Smart Search at the forefront of this evolution. Let’s discuss how implementing Smart Search on your website can provide a seamless, futuristic search experience for your users and lead to increased engagement and conversions.

Reach out today to explore how Thing Solver’s Smart Search can transform your search experience, enhancing user satisfaction and driving business success. Book your demo and let’s talk business!