Helping Users Find Their Own Way: Creating Modern Search Experiences

Helping Users Find Their Own Way: Creating Modern Search Experiences

Google changed user expectations about how search should work, and voice platforms like Alexa are changing mental models again. It's time to modernize our search experiences to meet the user needs of today and tomorrow. This session will discuss 8 key principles of modern search experiences. Then, building on the NPR's own experience in re-platforming its cross-platform search service, this session will explore how to apply those principles to the web, mobile, voice platforms, and beyond.

You'll leave this session with a better understanding of:
- The fundamental expectations and mental models about "search" that your users are bringing with them when they use your system.
- The limitations of machine learning and the essential role that human judgement and high-fidelity metadata play in crafting great search experiences.
- The value of domain expertise in crafting bespoke search-based experiences that are specific to your industry, content, and audience.
- The forthcoming metadata and filtering challenges posed by emerging platforms like voice assistants and AR/VR—and some potential steps you can take today to better "futureproof" your search indexes.

Search helps us discover content we care about and is an escape hatch when navigation has failed us—and by taking cues from Google and Alexa (among others), we can craft new search experiences that are much more responsive to our users' needs.

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Dan Newman

May 18, 2020
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Transcript

  1. 1.

    Helping Users Find Their Own Way: Creating Modern Search Experiences

    Dan Newman Director of Product Design, NPR @creativenewman Allison Shelley/NPR
  2. 7.

    @creativenewman #Confab2020 “Search lets users control their own destiny and

    assert independence from websites' attempt to direct how they use the web. Search is also users' escape hatch when they are stuck in navigation.” 
 -Jakob Nielsen, May 2001 bit.ly/nngsearch Nielsen Norman Group
  3. 8.

    @creativenewman #Confab2020 • Search helps when you have too much

    information to browse • Search helps fragmented sites • Search is a learning tool • Search should be there because
 users expect it to be there • Search can tame dynamism
  4. 9.

    @creativenewman #Confab2020 “As the choice of first resort for many

    users and tasks, search is a defining element of the user experience… Unfortunately, it’s also the source of endless frustration. Search is the worst usability problem on the Web.”
  5. 37.

    @creativenewman #Confab2020 “A Taxonomist, a Software Engineer, and a UX

    Researcher Walk
 Into a Bar: Bridging AI and User Experience Methods at Etsy“ Gio Kincade, Jenny Benevento, & Jill Fruchter, IA Summit 2017 bit.ly/etsyias17
  6. 38.

    @creativenewman #Confab2020 “A Taxonomist, a Software Engineer, and a UX

    Researcher Walk
 Into a Bar: Bridging AI and User Experience Methods at Etsy“ Gio Kincade, Jenny Benevento, & Jill Fruchter, IA Summit 2017 bit.ly/etsyias17
  7. 50.

    @creativenewman #Confab2020 “Think with Google: In-App Search“ bit.ly/google-in-app • Make

    heavier use of auto- complete / type-ahead • Minimize complicated filtering, faceting, and sorting controls • Carefully evaluate the presented metadata
  8. 58.

    @creativenewman #Confab2020 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

    Modern search… … is implicit in the experience. … attempts to provide answers, not choices. … is contextually-aware. … handles divergent
 use cases. … helps guide users
 to success. … is built on high-
 quality metadata. … adapts to all
 form factors. … usually requires
 human curation.
  9. 89.

    @creativenewman #Confab2020 Traditional search is “user inputs text”. 
 Voice

    search is “user says something that
 turns into text (hopefully correctly)”. 
 AR/VR search might be “user looks at
 something; we implicitly turn that action
 into an intent that we turn into text”.
  10. 97.

    @creativenewman #Confab2020 An article based on this talk is
 available

    now at bit.ly/npr-search Dan Newman Director of Product Design @creativenewman dnewman@npr.org