These days on the internet, now more than ever, we find ourselves needing to find information quickly. Rushing everywhere, often on our phones looking up information while we’re performing another task completely. If we’re not able to find what we’re looking for with a certain amount of quickness, we likely turn elsewhere and start the search over, or we get frustrated and give up. It’s so important to think about ease of finding information when we create a site here at Web Strategies. Let’s talk about some of the ways we can find information on a site.
This is often the first place we turn to when we want to look for something on the site. We look for clues that might help us make an informed decision about where to click first. Words in the navigation where we might have seen similar information on a previous site or words from the same category are all tactics we might use to make that first click.
What if we’re searching for a blog post? Sorting content can be a great way to tip the table one way so we can start with the oldest blog posts or the newest. Maybe we want to sort a directory alphabetically to find a member. This is really helpful with large groups of content depending on the sorting abilities available.
Filtering also has its benefits when finding information on a website. We can use filtering when we are looking for an item within a specific topic or department. On a music website, we might filter a listing by instrument or a shop by product shape or use. When we have a lot of data to get through, adding a useful number of filters can help us start to narrow down everything to a manageable number of records.
If we’re not able to find anything with other methods we may resort to a regular text search. For sites that have any collection of resources or products, we include a search bar either in the navigation bar or on the archive page with those items. This provides a direct way to the item if it is known or a way to search by a keyword that could be included in that item.
All these methods are helpful with sites that have lots of content or collections of content, however, it’s just as important to make sure that even for smaller sites that content is easily findable. If you have a large archive of items on your site, think about the way your users might be looking for those items and make sure that you have the right sorting and filtering options to make them easily accessible. Use clear language and don’t forget about using all the options available to you!