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I'm designing a simple search functionality, and I want to add recently visited items upon clicking on the search box to help users have a shortcut of things they want to get to. Assuming that users will mainly interact with items related to them.

So what are the implications of adding recently visited items upon clicking on search box?

Note: Recently visited items are items which user have entered. A good example is the search on confluence!

Update: The project I'm working with is a SaaS project, and items are assigned to users in order to accomplish tasks.

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It's all about context. In your example from Confluence (a wiki-like tool) the chance that you may want to go back to a previous article is fairly high (and there is no real privacy issue) thus it makes sense to show.

If privacy is an issue though (e.g. viewing previous personal searches on a medical conditions website) I would avoid it.

In many business/enterprise web applications, the users often view the same things over and over same users, same projects, same tasks, same activities, same contacts, etc. thus in these cases (as long as there is no privacy issue) it makes a lot of sense to provide this "recent" list, and I'm sure the users will appreciate the speed efficiency provided.

  • This is just an assumption. There are many other things users might find useful. What about results based on statistics and user preference? Like interests, role, events, news etc. or a combination of those. – jazZRo Nov 12 '16 at 8:12
  • To update, the search I'm working on is for a SaaS product where items are assigned to specific users. So the interaction with search will be more focused on items the user own. – Abdullah Al-Khalidi Nov 13 '16 at 17:51
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I agree with jazzro on both points mentioned.

Recent visited items might or might not be required always, and hence, it becomes even more important to test this.

Is there data showing that most users usually end up visiting the recent searches? At the same time, I have found myself appreciating the ability to view my recent searches.

A better way would be to use his input to decide whether to show the recent searches. Just like the chrom browser. As soon as you start typing something, it shows the most recently typed/used URLs on the top.

A second approach could be what ecommerce sites do. Once you are on the search result page, at the very bottom they would show a list of recently viewed items as well.

I have found the recently viewed/visited feature very useful especially in the online shopping use case.

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One implication I can think of that it is privacy sensitive information that users don't want to suddenly pop-up.

Another implication is off course that users don't want/need to see recently visited items. Maybe something else is more useful. You can think of items based on statistics and user preference like interests, events, role in the organization, changes made by others or recent news etc. Or a combination of those, whatever results in an interesting list.

Test and monitor this, it's the only way to know if users benefit from this feature.

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