I have interesting feature for you — Search for mobile apps. Search is a fairly complex feature and this article does not cover everything there is to know about it. In this article, I will be describe how to pick between the two most famous styles of using search on your application, search bar on the landing screen or search tab on the navigation bar.
Designing Search for mobile apps :
So many applications that we use on a daily basis have the Search feature. The style these applications execute search can be very disparate. But why is there a require for different implementations of the same feature? Is one better than the other? Let’s find out.
1. Search bar on landing screen :
Search bar on the landing screen :
Here’s a screenshot of some of the popular apps that use a search bar on the landing screen. The search bar is simply discover able as most of the times it is present on the top of the landing screen.
In this case, the Search caters to the users who have a clear intention behind doing a search. Any opinions or help the platform might afford will be on the basis of the keyword entered by the user.
2. Search tab on navigation bar :
Search tab on the navigation bar
And here are screenshots of some apps that use search as a tab on the navigation bar. This Search isn’t as discover able as the Search bar on the landing screen, but it is easily accessible considering that the users can easily reach it with their thumbs.
In this case, Search gets an absolute screen for itself. This screen has a search bar on the top and the rest of the screen is occupy with data that would either aid the user’s search or would help the user analyse the content on the platform. This facilitates an prior search for the user who does not have a clear intention yet.
Bar or Tab? :
Both the searches aid various desires of the client. And that is not all, both the searches also depend on the type of platform and the kind of content the platform offers.
Use a search bar on the landing screen when :
The user’s primary objective behind opening the app could be searching for something. For reference, have a look at Google Maps, Uber or Zomato. Most of the times people open these apps precisely to perform a search for a location, a restaurant or a dish.
The user has a clear objective behind doing the search, as in the case of Facebook where users generally look for other users or pages. Most of the times they know what the name of the user or page might be, even if they are not completely convinced of how it is spelled. For such platforms, it’s a rare opportunity that the user only has vague instructions about the thing they are looking for. And even if this possibility happen, there is not much that the platform can do to help the user.
Utilize search as a tab on the navigation bar :
You want to appreciate user engagement by allowing the user to analyze and discover new content on the platform. For indication , have a look at Instagram and Twitter. These platforms want the users to stay longer on the app, which is why they offer personalized content which is outside your network to help you determine new users or content that you might be interested in.
The user is not sure of what they are looking for and the app can advice the user in decision what they want. For reference, look at Netflix and Uber Eats. They allow the users to explore the app via the means of classification and dishes. This caters to the user who appreciate he wants to watch a comedy show but is not sure of which one he should watch.
Now, let’s look at Airbnb?
Airbnb uses a mix of both the variations. They’ve got a search bar on the landing screen and the landing screen is the search/explore tab.
Given the context of Airbnb I understand that it makes a lot of sensibility. By doing this they cater to two types of users — users with a definite destination in mind who would use the search bar (users with clear intention), and users who might not have a specific destination in mind, and are in the process of figuring out the destination (users who need kind of an exploratory search).
Both the variations have pros and cons. Both of them are suited for specific use cases. Going through all the examples above, we can conclude that there are two factors that determine which search to use — intentions of users coming to the app and the possible offerings of the app.
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