I am running a test. Something that might drastically change how a user interacts with Church Website Ideas. Last night I decided to remove the search bar from this site in a effort to test an idea I had. It all started when I wanted to find an old blog post I wrote, so I did a quick search using a keyword and, nothing! I couldn’t find the post, or anything really relevant. Not a good user experience.
A Quick Look at the Numbers Made Me Remove the Search Bar
I thought that if I am having trouble finding things, then I bet others are too. I took a quick look at my Google Analytic data and noticed in one week, 21% of people searching this site we bouncing off as soon as they hit the results page. This can mean a few things, but I read it as: 21% of our users are not finding content and leaving the site. Not something I want to be known for.
Why Search Can Fail Users
From a user experience viewpoint, search can be a fantastic tool when it works. It finds the content the user was looking for. But when it fails, it frustrates the user and they feel bad. Think about the last time you searched for something on Google. Did you find what you were looking for? Google focuses a ton of resources to make sure that all their search results are relevant to the user. Because they know what would happen if their search engine started to fail, people would look elsewhere.
What’s the solution?
I’m not sure yet. This is just an experiment. I am reworking our tagging system, to make it much easier to find relevant content by tag, also I have plans to test out a drop-down navigation that lists all the categories a post might fall into. This should be a fun experiment and I hope to find some interesting results to share with you all.