Creating a rewarding search experience for users can be integral to successful site design, but few books address the process. Here, co-author Tony Russell-Rose describes the conception and creation of Designing the Search Experience: The information architecture of discovery (Morgan Kaufmann). You can download a sample chapter here and enter to win a copy of the book below.
Remember the Yahoo! Directory? It was a hand-built taxonomy that allowed users to browse and discover Internet resources. By categorizing sites by topic and location, it became the definitive map of the World Wide Web. But at the turn of the millennium, Yahoo! transformed itself from a directory into a search engine. The task of organizing so many disparate items into a single coherent structure had simply become too overwhelming.
A decade later, this story is all too familiar. Online stores sell hundreds of thousands of items, social networks host millions of users, and Flickr hosts billions of photos. Navigation is no longer the future: Search is the key making sense of the digital universe.
Despite the growing influence of search on our daily lives, relatively few non-academic books have been published on the subject. While there are dozens of titles about designing web navigation, those on designing search can be counted on the fingers of one hand.
That’s why Tyler Tate and I set out to write Designing the Search Experience: The information architecture of discovery. For the last year and half we have been researching, drafting, and editing—striving to transform our ideas and insights into a coherent narrative.
To help maintain our focus we established three fundamental principles to guide the writing process:
- Integrated: Theoretical frameworks for human information seeking should be tightly integrated with practical design solutions, helping readers understand what, why, and how.
- Holistic: individual design patterns should be related to the overall user experience, and search itself re-framed within the broader context of analysis and discovery-oriented problem solving.
- Readable: The tone of voice should be informal and approachable, and the narrative driven by examples.
Plenty of amazing folks—Ann Blandford, Karen Church, Rory Hamilton, James Kalbach, Joe Lamantia, Greg Nudelman, Louis Rosenfeld, Ian Ruthven, Daniel Tunkelang, and Martin White—contributed essays to the book, enriching it with their expertise and enhancing our mission. Designing the Search Experience weaves together the theories of information seeking with the practice of user interface design. This definitive guide will enable you to:
- Understand how people search and how the concepts of information seeking, information foraging, and sensemaking underpin the search process.
- Apply the principles of user-centred design to the search box, search results, faceted navigation, mobile interfaces, social search, and much more.
- Design the cross-channel search experiences of tomorrow that span desktop, tablet, mobile, and other devices.
We hope you find it useful and insightful, and welcome any feedback.
So you want to win this book, right? Well, all you need to do is answer a question for us:
How do you search for jobs online?
There are three ways to enter the contest:
- Make sure you're following UX Magazine on Twitter.
- Create a tweet that says, "Hey @uxmag, <your answer>. Do I win a copy of Designing the Search Experience? http://uxm.ag/12r".
- Replace the blank with your response to the question. Make sure to keep the rest of the tweet the same.
- Publish the tweet.
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Five winners will be chosen from amongst the valid entries. The giveaway ends on Friday, January 25th.