Instant suggestions: improving the usability of search engines

Every day we use at least one search engine to access the information we need on the Web. However, daily use does not make us good search engines. In order to arrive at the indicated result, the indicated query must be written, and this requires a domain of the language that we cannot always cultivate.

“Certainly, it would be good for schools to better teach children how to search. But I do not have much hope, since most people have the literary skills of an anteater (I was going to say “a chimpanzee”, but these animals are too clever for my metaphor). That you get new and varied words from the head was not a survival skill for the ice age hunters, and that is why most people today cannot invent good consultations without help. ”

In view of this reality, many search engines began to incorporate assistive tools so that the user reaches the best possible term. The three main ones, which we could include with the term “instantaneous suggestions”, are the following:

Autocomplete. After typing the first few characters of the search term, a list of commonly used words starting with the same letters appears. Thus, if the word is very long, we can find it in the list and choose it by a click, saving us the job of continuing typing. This is especially useful on touch devices, where writing requires more effort. In addition, for all types of forms, browsers keep a list of terms already entered by the user in each field, so that, for example, you do not have to enter your email address and password again and again.

Autosuger. When you enter a search term, a list of related terms appears, which does not necessarily begin with the same characters. For example, if we write “bicycle” in an online store, we may get suggestions like “bicycle wheels”, “bicycle seats”, “used bikes”, etc. Some search engines, such as Google, even detect typos and offer corrected search terms.

Instant results. As we enter a search term, the results are loaded directly, which are modified according to how the sentence is completed.