Almost all sites include a Search facility.
The usual format seen is one of these two:
The Question is
If the user keeps the input box empty, and then hits enter (or clicks the Search button), what should they be given as a result?
Which would be the smartest approach for the UX?
- return all possible results (e.g. Google's Jobs site),
- return nothing, and ask the user to a enter search term
- bring the user to a dedicated search page (e.g. UX.StackExchange)
- return the hot results for right now on the site
- return the most searched for items, or
- return some random results
- do nothing
Is there any standard, de facto result, or research findings on this topic?*
In light of ongoing discussion, I am going to add some more example sites:
Google / Bing
Google and Bing handle this and their flow is to just ignore the search request if there is no search value entered and keep the user in the same page. (Thanks, @Mervin)
Amazon returns the normal homepage with an extra
/ref=nb_sb_noss_null in the url.
The Google Jobs site returns all possible results, with a default sorting by "logging-location" and reverse-chronological. Page navigation says "Page 1 of many"
Chrome Web Store
The Chrome Web Store, like Google and Bing, does nothing on pressing enter
Gmail has an interesting solution. While in the inbox, pressing the search button does nothing. But when user gives no input in advanced search dialog, it (IMO, rightfully) returns all mails with a notice "Invalid search query - returning all mail."