On my website, I have regular informational content and a shop. Both should be available to search, but I do not want to search everything with one bar and offer two separate lists of content after the search. I also do not want two search bars. I also do not want two separated websites (like a company site and a shop site). The shop will only show up products that are actually on sale, the website also offers information about products out of sale, jobs, blog posts etc.

Usecase: User A wants to buy product B. If using a general search user A would find a lot of articles and job offers related to B next to the product B itself.

Or, as another example: I don't want to find "UX career options" at the company Amazn when searching for books on UX in the Amazn shop.

The only opportunity I can think of right now is a scoped search, i.e. the user has to choose "Website" or "Shop" in a button next to the search bar.

I have the impression that this is not really often used nowadays - is this still state of the art or can you think of a better alternative?

  • It depends on the content and what people try to find. For example, if someone is looking for information about how to do something, maybe there is a product available that makes this easier but the person didn't know about. If this is a plausible case, you should offer the information and the product in the results. So you should elaborate on why you don't want to search the website and shop at the same time.
    – jazZRo
    Feb 17, 2021 at 9:11
  • If you insist on separating website and shop searches, then having a switch sounds the best alternative as long as both options are clearly present, have a clear affordance and one is selected by default (to make immediate search possible).
    – jazZRo
    Feb 17, 2021 at 9:12
  • Thanks for your remarks, I tried to specify my question - is this better?
    – Largo
    Feb 17, 2021 at 10:45

2 Answers 2


Search first...

To make searching an easy to approach feature it should only focus on what to find and not where. The "where" question not only adds an extra step, it also forces users to think in terms of your sites' IA. This certainly counts if you want to keep the search as approachable as possible.

Users also can miss out on possible other results that they might be interested in but didn't think about in the first place. Not only is this unfortunate for them, it may be in your best interest to show them other opportunities related to their search. Even if they only look at the other results out of curiosity.

...filter later

Now coming to your problem: You don't want to burden users with all sorts of unrelated things that they are not interested in. Just let them filter after the search. How this filter should look or work depends on the context.

In your case tabs are a possible option to use on desktop:

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And a dropdown on mobile:

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I wouldn't recommend adding the extra option to the search but if you still want it make it optional. Always select a default, most likely search in "all" is preferred. Still provide the results for all sections with the tabs/dropdown/etc. but with the chosen search section open. This allows users to also have a look at the other sections whenever they are interested or just curious.

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  • 1
    The tabs and dropdown are just suggestions. The main focus of my answer is "to search first and filter the results afterwards".
    – jazZRo
    Feb 17, 2021 at 13:25

Context is King

It depends on the Context. If the user is in a/the content section of your Website, the search should focus on Content. Articles from the shop are in a side-bar. Let's say in a "you may also be interested in..." fashion. There should be a button that belongs to this section, that says something like "more results from the shop" If you are in the shop it is the other way around. Main resultst come from the shop. Aside results from the content sections.

I have users in mind that might search for single words. (Do your user research). If you have a product that has this word in its name. Your results will be spammed with products (worst-case Scenario: 10 times the same product, but in different colors). The user will never see your well written and researched content.

The downside of switch like solutions is that users might never visit your shop because they are focused on content. (Are you ok with users not beeing presented with shop content.) And the other way around.

Also technically interesting: Your shop will have a specialized shop search engine. And there are content search engines. I bet they do their job well for their domain. But a content search engine will never yield results as good as the shop search engine for the shop (and the other way around obviously). If you want to mix results you'd need to find a common ranking system. This seems impossible to me.

I bet you'd want to use the shops native tools to tweak the search in order to promote certain products.

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