Lisa Frank

On-Site Search: Test the VisualMy previous post highlights the importance of testing your on-site search. The results of on-site search tests inform the changes you make to your site to accomplish your goals.

As a marketer, you spend a significant amount of your time and energy fine-tuning the look and feel of your site. It only follows that you want to know how the aesthetics of your on-site search affect your customer’s experience. But how do you know what to test? Here are several visual test ideas:

  1. Position: Test the location of your on-site search; move it to a new location. If your search is on the top navigation bar, move it to the left navigation panel and measure the results.
  2. Layout: Compare options for displaying search results. For example, if results are displayed in list format by default, create a variation that displays them in a grid format instead.
  3. Metadata: Identify the most interesting content for your search results. Metadata is data that describes other data. For example, if the data is a phone number, the metadata may be the time and duration. On your site, metadata includes extra information about your products that helps visitors make a decision. Color options, Q&A, customer reviews, and stock availability indicators are all examples of metadata you may want to test.
  4. Images: Optimize the images in your search results. Test the image size, location within the results, the number of images shown, and the style applied to them. For example, if you have sale items in the search results, you may want to display them using a different image frame or font color to draw attention to them.
  5. Calls to Action: Take your visitor where you want them to go. Including a call to action in your search results brings the visitor that much closer to conversion. Buttons, links, and other calls to action can have a dramatic positive or negative effect on conversions. Test every aspect of these elements including color, size, placement, and descriptive text.

Each of these tests can help you optimize the appearance of on-site search. Do you have any other ideas? If so, let us know in the comments. If you manage the ins and outs of how on-site search operates, we’ll shift from visual to functional test ideas in the next post in this series.

Tags: A/B & Multivariate Testing

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