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I know multiple search bars is frowned upon, but what about on the help page? For example:

Example of multiple search bars on the same page, seen on Amazon's help page

Like Amazon, the main purpose of our site is to search for things. My thinking is, they're having trouble finding something, so they go to our help page, get the answer, then they want to try the search again, but now the main search bar is gone? Another option discussed is have our main search bar include help pages (it's already a combo box that can search different data sets), but this seems like a bad precedent to allow results that aren't in the main content. Imagine if you searched for something on Amazon and got their help pages in the results list.

So we really want to keep the main search bar in the header, since the header remains consistent throughout the site - and on the help page have a large search bar towards the top of the page that only searches help documents. Our page would look a lot like the Amazon help page, we even plan to have the suggestions at the top to get them started. Is Amazon breaking the rules, or is this an exception to the rule?

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Your main ( top ) search bar is already established as a search for certain things. These things can differ depending on what kind of website you created but I'm sure your users are aware of what kind of results they can expect when they write something into it.

Bringing a new search result dataset into it would only smudge the good results that the users are expecting and possibly create confusion or decrease user retention.

Whatever you do I would not touch the functionality of your main search bar.

Regarding the document search bar. Separation of concerns is a good thing.

When the user sees a new search bar on your document search page there won't be a need for him to think what the usecase for it is, granted you fill the requirements below.

UI matters. Position and design of your search bars will affect how quickly the user will adjust to new search bar that he encountered.

Creating a clear cut distinction is important. Using color or spacing for example.

On Amazons example the faq search bar has a good clear label , giving the user immediate knowledge of what the search bar is for. A good help text to show the user what kinds of expression he can input. And is visually distinctive both with design and position from the main search bar , you can notice the content above the faq search bar which helps a lot.

Following all of these notes I wouldn't scare away from creating your own search bar that is separate from the main one.

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It might be good idea to separate your resources/help documents page with the rest of the application. This way you are defining that this page doesn't provide a proper link with the application and can only be used for searching help documents. In this page, you can only show one and only search bar –with a different styling, different header, different placement– and doesn't show the main search. Because main action of resource/help pages is searching help. Providing two search bar in this page neither add greater value nor intuitive.

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