Search is no place to get creative
Creative people are good at coming up with original ideas. Also when they’re working on a website. That’s perfectly fine of course, provided they don’t get too creative…
The screenshot below is from a webbuilder’s site. Apparently somebody there thought the standard search feature was in desperate need of an update. The result? A search feature that is unusable for the average surfer.
“Ah, a link to the search feature. Or is it?”
“Oops, it’s a faulty link… No, wait a minute… What’s that little white line doing there?”
“You can type on the line. That’s unexpected. But wait a minute, where’s the ‘Search’ button? Hmm, I guess I’ll just press ‘Enter’?”
“Yes, it is a real search feature. Hmm, quite complicated…”
Did you get it?
Did you immediately catch on to how this search feature works? If you did: congratulations. You didn’t? Not to worry. I showed it during a usability workshop to ten people, all professionally involved in the internet. None of them had a clue. None of them.
Keep search simple
A plain white type-in field of at least 25 characters long and a simple button that says ‘Search’ is something everybody recognizes and knows how to use.