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Do you need a search button next to a search box on a mobile website? On the iPhone for example the Enter button appears next to the standard ios5 ui keyboard.

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Are you providing suggestions as the user types?

If there is immediate feedback as the user types then no, they can select either the suggestion or their typed search term.

If the feedback is non-existent, a button is helpful and intuitive more so than the enter button. You mention the iPhone as an example however if this is intended to be a mobile site, that mobile device can be any number of devices. If you were deploying this in to a given app store, marketplace, etc... the approach could be different.

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All Android and iPhone devices have the Go/Enter feature on the standard keayboard. However, as Aaron McIver mentioned a different mobile device could enter the website and there is no guarantee that it has that feature in the keyboard.

So I would definitely recommend adding a button for Search if you want the site to be cross-platform compatible.

  • Are there actually mobile platforms out there that don't have an enter key? It seems unlikely, and if iPhone and Android are the main compatibility targets. If Windows Phone 7 and Blackberry do this too (I bet they do) I see no reason to keep a button. – Ben Brocka Dec 8 '11 at 15:39
  • @BenBrocka The enter button has never felt natural to me when searching on my Android devices. Every time it doesn't just go I find myself hunting for the enter key and wondering why it feels so cumbersome. Suggestions which I can select via touch feel much more intuitive. – Aaron McIver Dec 8 '11 at 15:44
  • @BenBrocka I don't know if there are actually. But if there is it would be a shame for the website losing all its functionality only due to the lack of that feature. Plus it states nowhere in the question that the iPhone and Android (or even a smartphone) would be the main target. – AndroidHustle Dec 8 '11 at 16:01
  • @AaronMcIver I think this is about buttons not suggestions. The keyboard is certainly less comfortable on mobile, but we're talking about an interaction where the keyboard is already up. – Ben Brocka Dec 8 '11 at 16:11
  • @BenBrocka The suggestions remove the need for the keyboard when making a selection. The keyboards ignored when a suggestion is presented, it no longer becomes the focal point, being up or not. They are not mutually exclusive. – Aaron McIver Dec 8 '11 at 16:14

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