"I'm Feeling Lucky" - Building Great Search Experiences for Today's Users (#IAC19)

3d4519fd34b76fb265fc0237f3792bd4?s=47 Dan Newman
March 17, 2019

"I'm Feeling Lucky" - Building Great Search Experiences for Today's Users (#IAC19)

(As presented at the 2019 Information Architecture Conference in Orlando, FL. A written version of this talk is available at http://bit.ly/npr-search)

Google has become synonymous with search, and voice platforms like Alexa are changing expectations from lists of potential results to a single "right" answer. In the face of well-performing, well-funded competitors like these, it might be tempting to throw in the towel entirely and assume that building your own site search or app search are no longer needed. However, in truth, search has never been more important to driving great user experiences than it is today.

To start, we'll look through some examples of content and navigational search done well and talk about why they work—for instance, Netflix responding to searches for films they don't currently have available for streaming with automated suggestions of similar films. We'll also look at some missed opportunities—for example, Washington Post not returning any relevant results for a search on "subscription" or "home delivery", or Wolfram|Alpha returning images of a moose when the user searches for pictures of a deer (because, obviously, a moose is part of the deer family!). We'll next discuss the changing audience expectations that users bring with them when they open search on your website or app—and what you can do to meet and exceed those expectations. Finally, we'll take a look into the crystal ball to see what today's technology developments (Voice! AR/VR! Machine Learning!) might hold for the future of homegrown search applications.

3d4519fd34b76fb265fc0237f3792bd4?s=128

Dan Newman

March 17, 2019
Tweet

Transcript

  1. “I’m Feeling Lucky”
 Building Great Search Experiences for Today’s Users

    Dan Newman Director of Product Design, NPR @creativenewman Allison Shelley/NPR
  2. @creativenewman #IAC19

  3. @creativenewman #IAC19 From the archives: Talk of the Nation July

    16, 1999 Allison Shelley/NPR
  4. @creativenewman #IAC19 Think about the last time you
 searched for

    something online...
  5. @creativenewman #IAC19

  6. @creativenewman #IAC19 The specifics may change,
 but core user needs

    are
 remarkably consistent.
  7. @creativenewman #IAC19 “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
  8. @creativenewman #IAC19 • 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
  9. @creativenewman #IAC19 “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.”
  10. @creativenewman #IAC19

  11. @creativenewman #IAC19 PART ONE: Eight Considerations for
 Modern Search Experiences

  12. @creativenewman #IAC19 1 Modern search attempts to
 provide answers, not

    choices.
  13. @creativenewman #IAC19

  14. @creativenewman #IAC19 GOOGLE NEWS YOUTUBE KNOWLEDGE GRAPH

  15. @creativenewman #IAC19

  16. @creativenewman #IAC19

  17. @creativenewman #IAC19 2 Modern search is
 implicit in the experience.

  18. @creativenewman #IAC19

  19. @creativenewman #IAC19

  20. @creativenewman #IAC19 3 Modern search is
 contextually-aware.

  21. @creativenewman #IAC19

  22. @creativenewman #IAC19

  23. @creativenewman #IAC19

  24. @creativenewman #IAC19

  25. @creativenewman #IAC19 4 Modern search handles
 divergent use cases.

  26. @creativenewman #IAC19

  27. @creativenewman #IAC19

  28. @creativenewman #IAC19

  29. @creativenewman #IAC19

  30. @creativenewman #IAC19 5 Modern search is built on
 high-quality metadata.

  31. @creativenewman #IAC19

  32. @creativenewman #IAC19

  33. @creativenewman #IAC19 (…metadata that is
 meaningful to your users.)

  34. @creativenewman #IAC19

  35. @creativenewman #IAC19 “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
  36. @creativenewman #IAC19 “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
  37. @creativenewman #IAC19 6 Modern search
 guides users to success.

  38. @creativenewman #IAC19

  39. @creativenewman #IAC19

  40. @creativenewman #IAC19

  41. @creativenewman #IAC19 (“What can I ask?”)

  42. @creativenewman #IAC19

  43. @creativenewman #IAC19

  44. @creativenewman #IAC19

  45. @creativenewman #IAC19

  46. @creativenewman #IAC19

  47. @creativenewman #IAC19

  48. @creativenewman #IAC19 7 Modern search adapts
 to all form factors.

  49. @creativenewman #IAC19 “Think with Google: In-App Search“ bit.ly/google-in-app

  50. @creativenewman #IAC19

  51. @creativenewman #IAC19

  52. @creativenewman #IAC19 Andres Urena/Unsplash

  53. @creativenewman #IAC19 8 Modern search involves
 human curation.

  54. @creativenewman #IAC19

  55. @creativenewman #IAC19 Current Behavior

  56. @creativenewman #IAC19 Serial Host Sarah Koenig Says She Set Out

    To Report, Not… fresh air Dec 23, 2014 45 min 21 sec Wait Show/Podcast Title Food General Topic/Series Obama Keywords (organic search) Ari People Podcast ‘Podcast’ Egypt’s Citizens Still Wait ‘To Breathe Deep The Air Of… weekend edition saturday Saturday 2 min 47 sec Waiting For A Break: Obama On ‘Strategic Patience’ In… morning edition From Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! Best of 2014 Part Two Saturday 49 min 30 sec Best of 2014 Part One Dec 27, 2014 49 min 30 sec Jenny Slate Dec 20, 2014 49 min 44 sec More about this show Beyond Free Lunch: Schools Open Food Pantries For Hungry all things considered Stories About Food More from this topic Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! Best of 2014 Part Two Saturday 49 min 30 sec Best of 2014 Part One Dec 27, 2014 49 min 30 sec Jenny Slate Dec 20, 2014 49 min 44 sec Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! is NPR's weekly hour-long quiz program. Each week on the radio you can test your knowledge against some of the best and brightest in the news and entertainment world while figuring out what's real news and what's made up. recent episodes: Sir Patrick Stewart Dec 13, 2014 49 min 46 sec Dan Barber: Can Organic Farming Make Perfect Fish? ted radio hour Today, 8:51 AM 9 min 44 sec On His 80th Birthday, Shake It Like Elvis With A Milkshake the salt Yesterday 2 min 41 sec How Anglers Are Learning To Save Fish That Get ‘The Bends’ the salt Tuesday 4 min 28 sec Stories about Food Dan Barber: Can Organic Farming Make Perfect Fish? ted radio hour Today, 8:51 AM 9 min 44 sec On His 80th Birthday, Shake It Like Elvis With A Milkshake the salt Yesterday 2 min 41 sec How Anglers Are Learning To Save Fish That Get ‘The Bends’ the salt Tuesday 4 min 28 sec A Cure For The Common Hangover, Found On The Stove found recipes Dec 21, 2014 2 min 31 sec For normal organic results (like those above): • Use ‘best match’ results from GSA, but move ALL results from the past 24 hours to the top (as GSA doesn’t alway appropriately position new stories due to lack of page rank). • Exclude any duplicate results that appear in a featured pod (like show title pod or topic pods at left). • Use infinite scroll to continue loading more as the user scrolls. Obama In Tennessee To Promote Free Community College morning edition Today, 3:25 AM 3 min 20 sec A ‘Sizable Decrease’ In Those Passing the GED morning edition Today, 3:26 AM 3 min 48 sec Obama, GOP To Face Off Over Keystone XL Pipeline morning edition Yesterday 5 min 1 sec Compressional Republicans Take Another Swing At Obamacare morning edition Yesterday 3 min 46 sec A London Tube Dream Ride, In The Driver’s Cab weekend edition sunday Stories By Ari Shapiro More by Ari The Theater Company Is 1927; The Technology Is Cutting Edge parallels Jan 5, 2015 3 min 31 sec High-Tech Tools Help Irish Dairy Farmers Produce More Milk business Jan 2, 2015 3 min 46 sec London’s Morning Gloryville Starts Sunrise Rave Trend europe Jan 1, 2014 3 min 49 sec News Magazine Searches Morning Edition Ari Shapiro Ari Shapiro is an NPR international correspondent based in London. An award-winning journalist, his reporting covers a wide range of topics and can be heard on all of NPR's national news programs, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered. More… recent stories: The Theater Company Is 1927; The Technology Is Cutting Edge parallels Jan 5, 2015 3 min 31 sec High-Tech Tools Help Irish Dairy Farmers Produce More Milk business Jan 2, 2015 3 min 46 sec London’s Morning Gloryville Starts Sunrise Rave Trend europe Jan 1, 2014 3 min 49 sec Morning Edition Boko Haram Uses Girls As Suicide Bombers, Reports Say Today, 4:59 AM 2 min 52 sec Every weekday for over three decades, Morning Edition has taken listeners around the country and the world with multi-faceted stories and commentaries that inform, challenge and occasionally amuse. Morning Edition is the most listened-to news radio program in the country. today’s stories: Terror Attacks Stun France, Millions Turn Out For Sunday Today, 4:59 AM 3 min 8 sec In Haiti, Politics And An Earthquake Anniversary Collide Today, 4:59 AM 4 min 5 sec From Morning Edition More about this show Boko Haram Uses Girls As Suicide Bombers, Reports Say Today, 4:59 AM 2 min 52 sec Terror Attacks Stun France, Millions Turn Out For Sunday Today, 4:59 AM 3 min 8 sec In Haiti, Politics And An Earthquake Anniversary Collide Today, 4:59 AM 4 min 5 sec So you know… We always include stories from Morning Edition as part of your NPR One flow. Just hit play to get the day’s news, tailored for you. Current Behavior So you know… We always include podcasts that we think you’ll like as part of your NPR One flow. You can also search for podcasts by title, or browse recommended episodes in ‘Suggestions’ Blurbs (for people, podcasts, and shows) will need to be truncated for display in the app, with the ability to reveal all (just like the updated bio pages on NPR.org). To discuss: what actions should be available at a show level? How to reveal actions at a story level in list views? Bored … And Brilliant? A Challenge To Disconnect all tech considered Yesterday 5 min 47 sec Podcasts Rise In Popularity, Funded By Advertisers digital life Nov 30, 2014 4 min 10 sec Consider disabling button user has already hear the most recent newscast, and replace text wit ‘You’ve already heard the most recent newscast Organic results should always follow custom pods, even in cases where we suspect that most users aren’t looking for the organic results. Therefore, we don’t break the experience for those who truly want news about a given topic. Message should be tappable directly to Suggestions view
  57. @creativenewman #IAC19 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. … guides users to
 success. … is built on high-
 quality metadata. … adapts to all
 form factors. … involves
 human curation.
  58. @creativenewman #IAC19 Fundamentally, modern search requires you to actually care


    about your users.
  59. @creativenewman #IAC19 (don’t be like Ron)

  60. @creativenewman #IAC19 PART TWO: Building a Modern Search Experience at

    NPR
  61. @creativenewman #IAC19

  62. @creativenewman #IAC19

  63. @creativenewman #IAC19

  64. @creativenewman #IAC19

  65. @creativenewman #IAC19

  66. @creativenewman #IAC19

  67. @creativenewman #IAC19 User expectations have changed. We need to change

    with them.
  68. @creativenewman #IAC19

  69. @creativenewman #IAC19

  70. @creativenewman #IAC19

  71. @creativenewman #IAC19

  72. @creativenewman #IAC19

  73. @creativenewman #IAC19

  74. @creativenewman #IAC19 And this is just the beginning.

  75. @creativenewman #IAC19 How do you know
 if it’s working?

  76. @creativenewman #IAC19 Does it pass the sniff test?

  77. @creativenewman #IAC19

  78. @creativenewman #IAC19

  79. @creativenewman #IAC19

  80. @creativenewman #IAC19 How’s it going now?

  81. @creativenewman #IAC19

  82. @creativenewman #IAC19 PART THREE: What Comes Next?

  83. @creativenewman #IAC19

  84. @creativenewman #IAC19 Machine Learning:
 It’s not coming to save us

    Allison Shelley/NPR
  85. @creativenewman #IAC19 Voice UI: Answers instead of choices Eric Lee/NPR

  86. @creativenewman #IAC19 No facets, no filters,
 limited refinements.

  87. @creativenewman #IAC19 What choices do we really
 need our user

    to make?
  88. @creativenewman #IAC19 A high premium on precision,
 and low tolerance

    for weak results.
  89. @creativenewman #IAC19 AR/VR: Inputless querying Photo: NPR

  90. @creativenewman #IAC19 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”.
  91. @creativenewman #IAC19 IN CONCLUSION: A Few Parting Thoughts

  92. @creativenewman #IAC19 Work to understand user intent. (That probably means


    talking to your users)
  93. @creativenewman #IAC19 You know your content
 better than Google does.

  94. @creativenewman #IAC19 Refine your results.
 Test in context.

  95. @creativenewman #IAC19 Search is a verb, not a noun.

  96. @creativenewman #IAC19 Don’t forget that this still matters.

  97. @creativenewman #IAC19 Nina Totenberg
 NPR “Founding Mother” and
 Legal Affairs

    Correspondent
  98. @creativenewman #IAC19 Thank you. Dan Newman Director of Product Design

    @creativenewman dnewman@npr.org