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I see a lot of discussion in UX circles about search VS browse. What I don't see a lot is any kind of testing or research on how soon people reach for the menu of a site, and whether different people reach for a different way into the content.

Who clicks on the link in the slideshow, or the card layout vs who goes for the search or a link in a second level in the menu?

I've gleaned from reading many, many of articles (and a bit of, but not much of direct user testing) that skirt around the issue that it's something like this...

Casual browsers will click on familiar things, or things that are signposted. They have arrived at the site with the mindset “what’s this all about?”. They will tend to navigate via things that are on the page. They will scroll until they find something they like, then click. They might look at the navigation to signpost them towards something that they might want to find (about / our work / clothes / that sort of thing) but won’t deep dive into the menus or search.

Targeted browsers are looking for something specific. They have come to the site looking for something. Men's T-shirts please? Are there jobs in my areas? etc They will search for their content. They’ll pretty much ignore the content on the page and go straight to a search or to deep-dive the menu - or even land at the page they need via search.

I wondered if anyone knows of any good resources on this. I feel like the assertions above are learned rather than assumed, but it would be great if there was some good evidence on this stuff somewhere.

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