EN: while the advice on search functionality in this chapter is supported by research, no evidence is provided to support the precise (that it is a major requirement to have a search engine at all). I recall recent usability studies that indicated that search is a method "of last resort" and that users find information faster without one, even on their first try, and develop expertise in using a site as a result.

1. Provide results in usable format (5:3)

Search results should actually match the terms the user is searching for, and should be formatted for maximum utility.

EN: No kidding?

2. Communicate what is being searched (5:3)

Users assume that a search engine searches the entire site (ideally, it should). When it is necessary to provide an engine that is restricted to a certain section of the site (it searches only the press releases) or certain content is excluded for practical reasons (content in a member area cannot be searched from the public area) or technical ones (a collection of documents consist of scans that cannot be parsed), or even when a search engine searches multiple sites on the same server - i.e, anything more or less than the entire content of the present site - the user should be informed of such.

3. Make search case-neutral (4:2)

The search algorithm should find matching text strings regardless of capitalization.

EN: Other things to consider are matching singular-to-plural, synonyms, and other close matches to the text the user has entered.

4. Provide a search option on each page (4:2)

A search form should be a standard navigation element on every page.

The author does (finally) indicate designers should not count on a search engine as a substitute for content organization, and implies there may be disadvantages to offering a search engine 9though they are not described or enumerated).

5. Design search around user's terms (4:3)

Consider the keywords a user might employ to search a site.

EN: The author goes on a while about that, but keeping a search engine log should identify popular queries that draw few results. Also, if the content of a site is written in language that the user can understand, it shouldn't be necessary to goof around with meta tags or whatnot to make information findable.

6. Allow simple searches (3:2)

Advanced programming techniques (Boolean operators, etc.) are available, and one can use parameter based searches so the user can select a specific category of content, making for a very complex and sophisticated search engine. The vast majority of users, even given these features, type a few words (under 40 characters) and tap enter.

And so, advanced searching seems like an indulgence to programming staff - if you must go there, ensure that a simple search works as well (the user isn't forced to play with the various added features).

7. Notify users when multiple search options exist (3:3)

Examples show sites that offer several different flavors of search, and suggest giving the menu of their options.

EN: the preceding advice suggested keeping it simple, so this seems unnecessary.

8. Include hints to improve performance (3:3)

The author suggests providing hints or tips to enable users to format their search queries more effectively.

EN: The text is vague as to when this is needed - my sense is with a simple search, it generally isn't, but you can assess the number of results returned and perhaps provide coaching if needed.

9. Provide search templates (2:3)

Consider the terms that the user entered and provide some suggested search phrases that will help them find more focused information.

EN: this may require extensive effort to define and maintain.