Consistency in Search and Navigation Lends to a Stronger Brand Experience

July 10, 2012 JoeR

We talk a lot in this blog about ways to get more business value from site search. Today, I’d like to talk about the importance of navigation, and more specifically the navigation pages in delivering a similar experience than the search results pages, to insure a consistent user-friendly experience, better engage visitors, and ultimately increase conversions.

Many retailers have embraced site search as a key initiative to drive revenue, offering feature-rich search results pages with engaging capabilities, but when it comes to navigation pages, most retailers go back to their old habits and deliver limited functionality, and a completely different user-experience.

Not only does this deprive visitors who opt to navigate rather than search of useful features, but it also causes confusion, as it often seems as though the search and navigation pages are hosted on different sites. We talked about this before, but it is important to keep a consistent look-and-feel across your channels, including your website, mobile site, mail-order catalog (if you still have one), and email campaigns. But even with your website, the experience should be consistent, from the colors and look-and-feel, to the features and cool options.

So, navigation pages should be treated the same as search results pages. For instance, if you show user ratings and reviews on search results pages, and you offer the ability to sort or refine by star ratings, you should do the same on navigation pages. If you offer a Quick View Window on search results pages, you should offer it on navigation pages as well. You should also offer the same refinement options on navigation pages as you do with search – and you can even use popular site search results to merchandise navigation pages.

search-navigation

Beyond matching features and functionality, you should ensure your lay-out, and general look and feel are consistent. Use the same typeface and font size, and the same color scheme. Show the refinements in the same place on both pages, and if you use grid or list view on search results pages, use the same view on navigation pages (or give customers a choice).

If you have any questions about this or other tips to share, please add a comment below.

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