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I have a navigation bar with a lot of menu items. This leaves very little space for the search bar so I was wondering that ideally, what should be the size of a search bar as far as UX and usability is concerned?

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As you would have noticed from your own visits to many different websites, search bars do not have a standard size.

According to this UX Planet article about search bar design:

A rule of thumb is to have a 27-characters text input (it would accomodate 90% of queries).

This "rule of thumb may or may not work for you but that number is good value for a minimum size.

I'd also like to point to the link I mentioned in the comment. Set the size according to your needs. Notice that the search bar on the SE sites accommodate only 30 characters (roughly 5 words) even though users would type in questions or answers. This is because the result page shows what you searched for and the sites expect you to type in keywords rather than sentences.

Hope this helps

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This is no standard size for search bar unless it's usable.

Different sites use it according to their use-cases

But check this points below to make search better !! cheers

How to design a perfect search box ??

  1. Use magnifying-glass icon

  2. Display search field prominently

  3. Provide a search button for the search box

  4. Put the search box on every page

  5. Make search box simple

  6. Put the search box where users expect to find it

  7. Proper Field Size

A rule of thumb is to have a 27-characters text input (it would accomodate 90% of queries).

  1. Use auto-suggestion mechanism

  2. Make it clear what users can search for

Read more here

Read more here too

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If there is very less space for the search box, i would suggest to go for a search box that initially looks small in size, but when user send a click/tab to the search box, then the space would expand dynamically, overriding the contents of the UI on a temporary basis and the size resets once the search results are displayed.

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  • This is an excellent way of handling search, unless search is the primary way that users use your site (Amazon, right?). Oct 23 '17 at 17:35

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