Sometimes I see the search bar inside already present text "Search ..." and that once clicked is replaced by what the user wants to write:

Which is a better UX design?

a) leave the search bar empty and clean?

b) insert the text "Search ..."?

4 Answers 4


Use a prompt

I've tested this in ecomm and enterprise contexts in the past and providing some kind of "placeholder prompt" text has always been the winner. An empty field doesn't capture the same level of engagement.

As with all things, test with your users to validate.


I would say that having "Search" as a placeholder or having a blank search input amounts to pretty much the same thing.

What I do as a pattern is using that placeholder to help the user by suggesting what to search, as in if you're doing a grocery site then just say "Search for vegetables, meat, fish..." according to what you formulate to be the most obvious search topics.

Also there's a lot of UI's that use the exact same design pattern (icon/input styling) for search inputs and filter inputs so if you have both you might want to use the placeholder to make the difference more obvious.


I guess none of your options are close to how an internet user think about it.

It's just telling you there is a BAR for search, if you need.

I guess an internet user needs a search function while she/he is looking for something. I guess an computer user knows what is about the processing of search.

So, if a guest doesn't know there is a common feature for searching what they want, then they don't even need to think about what it says.

By the way, have your tried this yet? By the way, have your tried this yet?

  • So if I understand what you say .... it is not essential ... no? Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 12:21
  • If your point is the wording, then its not essential, it just a wording that telling people what it is.
    – bard
    Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 13:16

As long as it's an obvious input field with the word “Search” and/or the icon either within the field or as a label for the field you should be fine.

Facebook had some problems with this when they implemented graph search. Fastco wrote an interesting article about their research.

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