People often think of Google and Amazon as setting the gold standard for search features.  After all, they have millions of dollars and thousands of engineers to invest in the effort. However, even the titans of the industry can’t get everything right.  We’re obsessed with autocomplete, and we find it useful to study where other …

What’s so hard about autocomplete?

We often hear people say, “we can build autocomplete ourselves!”  And they’re right!  Showing users suggestions as they type is relatively easy to build.  But showing them the best suggestions with an intuitive, typo-tolerant, lightning-fast interface?  That’s a lot harder. Here are a few ways that Constructor.io takes standard autocomplete to the next level.   …

Turning a Document Search Engine into a Product Search Engine (Part 1)

Quite often, people install an advanced, sophisticated search engine on their e-commerce site, and are heartbroken to discover that it returns awful results.  Chances are that’s because it’s a document search engine, not a product search engine.  In this article, I’ll explain what the difference is, and how to remedy the problem. Document Search Engines Most search …

Improving Your Site Search: Monitoring Zero Result Searches

Monitoring searches that don’t return any results is an important part of improving any search experience. So-called “zero result searches” give you valuable data about what your customers are looking for but aren’t finding, giving you important clues about what products or services you should add. In addition, zero result searches can give you useful …

Improving Your Site Search: The Search Bar

In this first installment of our series on improving your site search experience, we’ll begin with a fundamental but often overlooked part of search: the search bar.  First, we’ll discuss why the search bar is so important, and then we’ll discuss some key factors that make a great search bar. Why Your Search Bar is Important Google and …

Why You Should Care About Autocomplete

Many of us in the tech world live in a bubble. We assume things about our users that are not always true, and occasionally this comes out in embarrassing yet eye-opening ways. When my cofounder, Dan and I were working on Search at Shutterstock a few years ago, we realized we were very much doing …