Is there any research on when we should provide search for website and when not?

As I know. If pages are few then search don't require, but I'm not sure how many pages should consider as few. and which type of website should consider to not to use "search"

3 Answers 3


It is more about what the users need to get from the site than how big it is. If the site consists of 10 pages each of which is clearly linked in the home page, and the site is just giving information then it may not need a search.

If people will come to the site and want to find information that is not naturally available in the heirarchy then you should provide a search. Even a portfolio site MAY justify a search, if people will be coming to the site to find examples of types of your work, for example. If you have 20 pages and they are easy to scan through, then maybe not.

And a site that is selling products directly needs a search - if nothing else because it makes it look more professional, and can give an idea that there are more products than there actually are. If your site has changing information - changing in a way that does not involve a site rework - then you need a search.

So don't just consider the size. Consider the usage. If you have a small site, then providing a basic search is not a major overhead, and if it would make the user experience better, then do it. The other side is that if the user would be confused by a search, then don't provide it.

Many celebrity/personal sites do not include a search, because their structure is very basic - a menu of links, each of which link to another page with information on. They do not require a search because the amount of information is very limited, and the only reasonable route to accessing it is the menus. They are normally kept up to date with new links if there are new routes or pages. This is a case where, irrepective of the number of pages, the usability would not be enhanced with a search.


It depends on the type of site that you are talking about. It's a more a question of 'Does the user think he can use the site search feature to find what he wants quicker'

eg: If it's a portfolio site, then even if you have 20 pages, there is no point in providing a 'search' as users won't know what to type in the searchbox anyway.

However, if it's a business site selling even 3-4 products, then it's probably a good idea to have a search box, not because the content is buried deep in the site, but because the users (atleast some) come to the site looking for something specific and think they will find it easier by using the 'search'. Same goes for a blog.


Why would you ever not provide a search box?

This is ancient: Jakob Nielsen's Search and You May Find. "As a rule of thumb, sites with more than about 200 pages should offer search"

Obviously I disagree -- search is easy to implement, there's a standard place for it, so you should have it.

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