According to the latest research from Jakob Neilsen, most users are unable to solve problems with search. Effective websites should redirect their efforts into more supportive user interfaces when possible.
Users are incredibly bad at finding and researching things on the web. In study after study, Neilsen researchers find that most users don’t know how to use search.
Search suggestions are a now a popular way to help people overcome their limited generative abilities by showing a drop-down of fully formed potential queries as soon as users type in a few characters that hint at their needs. Although helpful, users often assume that it lists everything the site carries. Thus, if something isn’t included in the search suggestions, users might never bother to search for it.
Until people begin to grasp the complexities of search and develop skills accordingly, businesses that take such extra steps to help users find what they need will improve customer success — and the bottom line.