Why Your Autocomplete Search Field Should Include Imagery

It’s time for search fields to evolve. The web started with a basic search field where the user enters their input and gets a results page. The next generation of the search field was the autocomplete feature that displays potential results in a menu based on the user’s partial input.

The autocomplete feature has made search faster and easier for users. They don’t have to remember the exact terms to get an accurate search. As long as it’s similar to the term, they’ll get search suggestions they can choose.

However, this still isn’t as good as it can get. Even with search suggestions, the user can still have trouble finding the item they want. This problem occurs when the suggested search terms are too similar, and the user can’t differentiate them.

In the example, the menu displays multiple “Louis Orlato” shoes. The user doesn’t know the difference between each of them. As such, they aren’t sure which product to select. If they choose the wrong one, they’ll waste their time and effort. It’s a gamble for them when they’re faced with uncertainty.

Another example is when the user needs to select from a database of people but finds similar names in the menu. They remember the person’s first name but don’t know their last name. Now they’re stuck with indecision and have to figure out the person’s last name to continue.

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