A short listen to two podcasts from the Usability master of rhetoric, Jarred Spool, brings up an interesting point:
– People don’t want to search, it’s just something they do when they can’t figure out the navigation.
This of course is in contrast to Donald Normans view that future interfaces will be based on physicality and command line interfaces. But it is not hard to imagine why it is like this. If you have to search you have to think. If you use the buttoned navigation, all you have to do is use a small part of your brain to recognize if something is relevant and identify if it can lead to success.
Searching is much more demanding, there is no help or prefilled box with a suggested searchstring. The searcher would have to imagine and analyse the content their after and figure out a phrase that could generate relevant result. To difficult, to stressfull.
But there are exceptions, where Spool says that users do use the searchengine as a primary navigator… Sites selling books, DVDs and other ‘direct’, title-based, merchandise…
Photo by Nomad Photography