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We're designing a page that allows users to search for and add customers and we're unsure about what to show to users initially.

The user goals on this page would be finding an existing customer to edit details or adding a new customer. This would speak for only showing a search field and add button. (A.)

We are not aware that there is a user need for seeing a list with all customers. Or seeing another selection like the last added customers. However I feel (from experience) that it is more common to show (some) search results initially. (B.) Maybe to show users that data is available/loaded, what variables are available or as a confirmation that users have landed on the right page. Also it looks like there is something missing without search results. This could just be a matter of design, not sure. (C.)

Wireframe A, B and C

What do you think?

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I have a similar scenario in my product. The thing is we show a list of all active users as well as a search box. However, the list has proven to be useless as all users tend to search for a specific contact by using the search box. I recommend that you use the suggestions dropdown to display the latest searches - or display these next to the search box if that's possible. On the other hand, there's no need for you to display a long list of users. You can probably work on some general categories and add tiles to the layout so the user can access specific groups with just one click. These tiles could be 32 new users, 142 users category A, 331 users category B... And of course the search box.

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If you are concerned about there being too much "white space", then you can simply add some placeholder text.

This can just contain some basic information such as the purpose of the search page, and how to use it. Nothing overly useful, but it will help make the page fell less empty.

Something like this (text is just a quick example, probably needs some actually thought as to the exact wording you should use):

enter image description here

The benefit of this approach is you can use the same styling for when you want to inform the user that there are no result matching their search criteria:

enter image description here

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If there are thousands of customers then definitely they might have been categorised to branches/centres and there is a good chance that the editor/admin will pick one customer from their operating branch. If that is the case, listing of recently modified or newly added customers from their operating branch seems valid. And even it can be modified further by providing pagination so the admins can check for recently corrupted records like duplicate records or typos.

If no such branches are there then a simple search box is fine as other answers pointed.

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