Recently we are replacing our complex (and frankly cluttered) Search function with a much cleaner one. We are planning to do an AB Test to test the way users like to search/what effect different ways of searching affect user motivation. The two AB test options are just a magnifying glass icon in the nav bar or a magnifying glass icon and a textfield.

My question is from a user experience standpoint is there any reason to do this test if the only difference between the textfield and the icon is that when you press the textfield on the next screen you are already selecting the textfield? I tried to explain this but have hit a brick wall of sorts. I am of the opinion that in the case of both of them they are so similar that the AB test is useless. Am I overthinking things? The magnifying glass is here to stay so this test will determine if we leave the textfield(button) or not.

  • what do you measure in the test? do you want more or less of it? what is your plan if the measure of A will be higher/lower/same as B? – Aprillion Jul 6 '17 at 16:05
  • oh wait, by selecting the text field, you will NOT be able to just type into that field on the same screen, but will navigate to NEXT screen? why? – Aprillion Jul 6 '17 at 16:08
  • We want to measure how it will affect user activity. For example if they view more pages, use the search function more overall, that kind of thing. And yes it will move to another page with the textfield already selected, that is the only difference between the two "buttons". That was my problem with it as well. Why even make a text field lookalike button like that in the first place? – monolith Jul 7 '17 at 0:31

The response to any UI change is largely dependant on your users. Some products have users that are resistant to change and need every bit of coaching they can get to use a new UI while others are naturally flexible and can happily adapt.

The other thing to consider is Fitt's Law - the icon alone with form a smaller target for users to find whereas the icon and text field will be easier to spot.

Plenty of reasons to test! (you might also discover other things that you weren't testing for - never refuse an opportunity to test!)

  • Thanks for the advice. Thinking about it like that my problems with it have faded a bit but the lingering question of why have a button that looks like a textfield in the first place... – monolith Jul 7 '17 at 0:33

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