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Is there any benefit to having a 'quick search'* on the left of a home page, or, on the right or does it not really matter?

Given that people generally scan / read from left to right, it may be preferential for them to scan the hero / lead message then move onto the call to action / quick search area?

Examples on the right hilton.co.uk | on the left www.premierinn.com

I have A/B tested both on a particular (holiday/travel) website and the results are pretty much the same.


*by this I mean an area of the screen that combines a cluster of several search options whereby the call to action is 'search'

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Welcome to UX StackExchange Matt. It is good to see another Yorkshire lad on here. I hope you have fun :) –  DigiKev Feb 2 '12 at 21:24
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If you've A/B tested this and it shows that there's very little difference then you've already found your answer :-) However whatever else is located in the adjacent area to the search field may make a difference (a large graphic or CTA for instance may distract from the search depending on positioning) so keep A/B testing when you make changes here. Personally, I'd be interested in reading about your AB test. Perhaps do a blog post of the results so people asking this question at a later date can find some actual research? –  JonW Feb 3 '12 at 9:15
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2 Answers 2

You have researched and discovered the answer to this already with your A/B testing. I would conclude that there is no benefit from the left location to the right (depending on length of A/B test and the amount of eyeballs that have seen both layouts).

If you are still uncertain about this, do some quick usability testing. Write a scenario question along the lines of:

“You and a partner are planning a weekend away to the White Peak in Derbyshire next weekend. Find somewhere to stay that will sleep you both for 2 nights.”

This is a non-leading question that gives the user testers some scope to explore ways in which to book the location. You have not explicitly mentioned any of the words that are in the widget to give the game away. It will then be your job to check for any hesitations or issues in locating and using the widget. Try it out on at least 5 people.

I would probably refer to this as a booking widget rather than quick search. Search is normally top right, like on StackExchange, where it is expected to be found by the user. In this case, the user is required to choose a location and date for a booking, and the actions are self contained, so this has the characteristics of a widget.

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Its one of the kind of Classic conventions, people are used to see the search bar on the right side. so its hard to see the quantitative difference .

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Yet, this isn’t search per se in the sense that you describe. This is searching for a place to book, so would it conform to the same classic conventions of a site search? I personally think not. –  DigiKev Feb 3 '12 at 0:39
    
ya .thats right it depends mainly on the context –  Pratheep ch Feb 3 '12 at 19:00
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