Blooper 40: Number of Hits Not Revealed

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Blooper 40: Number of Hits Not Revealed

Another important piece of information often missing from Web search results is the number of found items, referred to in the industry as "hits."

Earlier, I showed that the search facility of DigiGuide.com (see Figure 5.20) includes a lot of duplicated information in its results (Blooper 33: Hits Look Alike). DigiGuide's search results has another problem: It doesn't say how many items were found (Figure 5.43). There isn't even an indication of how many pages of results were found ”just an uninformative " next " button. Users have to scroll and page through the results to see whether their search found a few, a few dozen , or a few hundred items. Not very customer friendly.

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Figure 5.43: www.DigiGuide.com (May 2002) ”The number of hits is not shown with results.

Close, But No Cigar

Some websites don't show the total number of hits with search results but do provide some information that lets users judge the quantity of results. Sorry, that's not good enough: It requires too much mental effort. Web designers should avoid making users think about anything but their own goals.

For example, Enron's website comes tantalizingly close to showing a total hit count but doesn't quite do it. In addition to a list of results pages, it shows how many items matched each of the given search terms (Figure 5.44). So close, but yet, so far!

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Figure 5.44: www.Enron.com (Mar. 2002)- A ” Search for "ken lay." B ” The total number of hits is not shown with the results. C ” The number of hits for each separate term is "buried" at the bottom of each results page.

Avoiding the Blooper

How hard can it be to show the number of hits? Lots of sites do it, such as Amazon.com (Figure 5.45).

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Figure 5.45: www.Amazon.com (Sept. 2002) ”Both the search terms and the number of hits are shown with the results.

Brinck, Gergle, and Wood (2001) list pieces of information search results must include in order to be usable. The number of hits is one of them. Search results should therefore follow Amazon's example and show the exact number of hits ”as well as the search terms ”above the list of results.



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Web Bloopers. 60 Common Web Design Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Web Bloopers: 60 Common Web Design Mistakes, and How to Avoid Them (Interactive Technologies)
ISBN: 1558608400
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2002
Pages: 128
Authors: Jeff Johnson

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