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Please have a look at the demo we did for FreshDirect.

Start at http://dl.dropbox.com/u/24083519/FD/FreshDirect.html Goto the search box and click 'organic tomato'. The interaction is immediate, and you see product images and prices as you type.

I wonder why it is not the default eCommerce search behavior. Is it too much to put in the search results? Or are there other reasons?

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+1 for adding an interactive demo to your question –  Rahul May 30 '11 at 8:26

3 Answers 3

Your question is "Is it too much to put in the search result?" In fact, I think your approach may put too little in the search results.

When I search in your site, I see 6 (and a bit) search results split across two columns. I think most e-commerce sites would want to display more than 6 results in their autocomplete to give customers the largest amount of feedback on what's available.

Having said that, your approach is interesting - it adds images, price and quality, which could seriously affect clickthrough rates on the autocomplete.

This would be something I would want to get in front of my customers as fast as possible, possibly in an A/B test, to see if it affects conversion. So that would be my advice here, rather than guessing at what other e-commerce sites do.

Some miscellaneous constructive criticism:

  • It's not clear to me in which order the results are sorted - do I look left to right as I go down, or is the left column prioritised over the right column?
  • I'm sure this is still temporary work, but the typography and colours could use some polishing. The price feels too small so it's not drawing my attention, and the spacing around each item feels too wide (which also affects how many items you can show me).
  • I'm confused about the purpose of the box in which I can type an amount. There's no clear call to action about what this is for and what I'm supposed to do after filling in a number.
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Thanks for the useful remarks. 1. The sort order is by ranking with open API. 2. Thanks, we should/will fix typography and colors. In general we leave to graphic designers. But the default should be the best we can... 3. Our idea was adding it to the cart without leaving the search. It should be made clearer. We would love –  Shai Ben-Yehuda May 31 '11 at 15:42
    
I was cut.. (Just hit enter and did not finish within 5 minutes...) As a technical team, We would love to work with UX experts on real opportunities. –  Shai Ben-Yehuda May 31 '11 at 16:02
    
Shai - you should totally hire an interaction designer to help you out, they'll give you feedback like I have but be able to assist you with testing, mockups and design work. :) –  Rahul May 31 '11 at 16:07
    
I guess we need help in building quality leads to clients as well... The best for us, at this point, is to find UX experts who can bring the prospects, we will work together and be generous in how we split the revenue. –  Shai Ben-Yehuda May 31 '11 at 16:22
    
@Shai Ben-Yehuda Since you're based in Israel, and if you're serious about locating UX specialists - I think UXI.org.il will be useful to you. –  Vitaly Mijiritsky Jun 5 '11 at 20:49

From my point of view, this all has to do with purpose. If you want your customers to find anything related to their search phrase without informing them of the price, the default e-commerce will do. If you have several products that only differ in quality, leaving out the prices and make the customer decide based on images, might raise income. Displaying all the prices, let's the customer compare on price base. This might cause the cheaper products to be bought more often.

If you're comparing prices against several shops, a price is indeed very important to display. If you're only selling products based on specific taste or origin, people won't make choices based on price. Their either looking for taste, quality, origin, color or anything else that could be food related.

Adding the prices on the products seems to be useful for comparison, but not specifically to the product itself. If people search for a specific product and they see all kinds of high prices come by of other products, people might expect the product they're looking for to be of a high price as well.

So.. Why would your users use the search function and what is the benefit they should receive from searching with the form? What are the most important specific values of the products and what's the best way to display this information?

If your price is important, then you could display it. Wager the pros to the cons to decide what would be better.

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Instant Search is one of those features that users either love or hate. In the case of Google, it's often quite annoying (at least for me), as I know specifically what I want to search for and would rather just type in the whole search term before the UI started going nuts.

In this case, if you can manage to make the searching and UI updates non-intrusive once it's connected to a real database, it could potentially increase conversions.

That being said, taking your example website at face value, the results listing could be improved a lot. Using a grid, removing redundant white space (especially for small screens), making the results generally quicker to comprehened visually when embedded in the quite colourful website behind it (even though it appears to be mock up). Perhaps use a different background colour (such as light gray) and other elements to help separate the overlay from the website.

I think if you design it properly and do a lot of user testing, you could be onto a winner.

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Great to hear it can increase conversions. It is built to be connected to the product DB. Up to 10,000 items can even be wrapped in js files (as we did for Fresh Direct). As a technical team, we would love to work with UX experts like you and provide real solutions to real clients and win it with you. –  Shai Ben-Yehuda May 31 '11 at 15:57

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