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Is it good UX to provide a favorite button/icon to save a returned result? Let's say I'm searching for a home. I get a bunch of results, some of which I'm highly interested in. I don't see myself clicking on the favorite button/icon if I want to save the result. I'd rather right click on the result and open it in a new tab. Do other users with less computer experience act the same?

Example

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I'm very fond of the idea, but I suggest you could use a "pin" instead of a favor. You could have the pinned results fixed, for every search, atop of the search results. –  RMalke Dec 27 '12 at 19:30
    
That's a great solution I must say. I'll definitely prototype this. –  naf Dec 27 '12 at 22:21

2 Answers 2

Its an interesting question.

For a person who has been browsing for some amount of time and is used to such a system would essentially do what you would, open in a new tab.

However there is a big percentage of people around who wouldn't be opening it in a new tab. They would simply click on the result, see it and then come back to the list and browse through other results. For example, my dad would always click on the link and NOT open in a new tab. He would even click on the back button to go back to the previous page! (and not the backspace button which is more convenient for moving back).

So yes, there are people out there who do not open in a new tab, however in my opinion, the favorites button is NOT a replacement/alternative to that.

Let me make myself more clear. If a guy is not using opening a new tab and using the favorites as an alternative method, then for that guy the look up for favorites should even be intuitive enough to figure out where he saved it.

For example, the house list you mentioned. If someone is favoriting the list to save it for future- where does he look it up from when he comes back? Is that intuitive enough for this not so savvy user to figure out? Because if the user was even slightly accustomed to looking through lists of results, he would have realized the benefits of opening in new tabs. So, if he is not that savvy, then you are expecting him to figure out how to look up his saved results from the favorites tab.

So the answer basically is, from the user point of view, its not just if favorites is an alternative/good way to save results; the question is how intuitive it would be for this user to come back and look up results.

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As a constant Internet user I do the same as you do: Command/Ctrl + click and than browse through my opened tabs. My parents for example, are not aware of the benefits of using things that way.

Importing such "favorite" system in your project might bring some advantages for users like my parents. If easy to use of course.

But the question you need to ask is how will you get your list of favorited "houses"? Is there some place on the website where you can find a list of your favorites? And if, is it a list of links with a small description or a list of the full descriptions with photo's etc.

If it is a list of links, I would end up using that first method of opening the links in a new tab to read the full descriptions. The only reason I would use the favorite section, is to "save" my favorited houses so I can look at them sometime later.

I think that less experienced users will do the same as if they did before. Probably just using the two arrows to go back or forward in the browser.

But those are just my thoughts of course.

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