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When a page has been reached from a search, rather than having a fixed location, is there any benefit to presenting a button to take the user back to the specific search they were in (and their location/page within those results)? Such a button would basically duplicate the behaviour of the browser's back button, but would users benefit from a clearly visible button for it?


Clarification: This is an internal, faceted search, not google. And these are pages which will only ever be reached through search since they have no fixed location in the site's menus (there are too many of them), so there won't be multiple versions of the page.

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2 Answers 2

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I would say that the back button is by far the most used button in any browser, you should embrace that.

With or without your help, the user will find what they're looking for and they will use the back button as part of their discovery.

Depending on your site, giving users the ability to return easily to their results is never a bad idea. It really depends on your site. Returning to your search for flight and car rentals is obvious to the experience. Returning to Google after searching something doesn't make much sense. Don't be afraid of relying on that back button especially if the content your showing goes off-site.

Personally, I find it confusing to navigate to a page from the search results and have it look differently than if I were to visit that page in some other fashion. If I wanted to view the page in the context of search, a preview or sneak peek option is preferred. Otherwise, I'll open up several of the results in new tabs and poke through them one-by-one eliminating anything that doesn't answer my question. If I were to run several search results and open up several tabs, the confusion really sets in when I don't know which search results I'm returning to for which tab.

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To clarify: this is a page that will only be reached by search - in a catalog of thousands, there is no static navigation to each. So there won't be two different versions of the page based on how it's reached. –  Marcus Downing Apr 26 '11 at 9:46

Having a "back to search results" button would be confusing for a user as it seems to be an odd practice for a website. The biggest issue with implementing it is that your website will be the only one doing it.

Browser's "back" button has consistent behavior and has a long history so the users will always be using it.

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Not exactly true: ebay has that link for example (called "Back to Search Results") –  Phil Jun 8 '11 at 12:36

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