Introduction & Table of Contents
Report Card & Key Findings
Synonym test explained
"I breezed through your report this morning and I was impressed. It provided valuable information in a format that was easy to digest. The best part? You folks actually tell your readers what they can do to solve the problems you point out. And you're specific about it too. So many of the reports I read are garbage and the 'action' steps they provide are so obvious or general they're virtually worthless. Kudos to you, my friend, for offering something of value."
Thomas Golembeski, Editor-In-Chief, Internet Marketing Report
Published: January 2003
Vitals: 45 pg., 150+ screenshots, 1,000+ search terms tested
People aren't perfect spellers or human thesauri. What one person calls a "coat" might be a "jacket" to someone else. Do you put a hyphen between Hewlett and Packard or do you just spell it HP? Is it a 15" or 15-inch monitor? This report evaluates how the Web's leading e-commerce sites handle the "human" aspect of searching.
The report is packed with ideas, insights, and 22 best practices that will help you deliver a more usable and useful search experience for customers.
We conducted six different tests per site. These tests answer the following questions from a customer's perspective:
Each of the 25 site reviews is presented on its own page in an easy to read and consistent layout. Each review includes six screenshots, insightful commentary, a relative rating score, and "The Bottom Line" that concisely explains what the site is doing well and what can be improved.
Anyone involved in your site's search development. This includes designers (how should the search results look?), information architects (how should results and details be structured?), strategists (what kind of features should our search have?), engineers/programmers (what sorts of things do we need to build into the search logic?), and marketing/business executives (what are the leaders in the industry doing and how can we be even better?).
This is not a highly technical report. You'll find lots of screenshots, ideas, visuals, and commentary. However, since many sites have different technology infrastructures and requirements, you won't find "code snippets" or specific technology recommendations.
Each test featured in this report was conducted by 37signals. We did not use third parties or external testers.
You are entitled to make as many copies as you wish, but you may not distribute the report to anyone outside your company, organization, or household. We'd appreciate if you would encourage your colleagues to do the right thing and purchase their own copy. Thank you.
This report focuses exclusively on a site's "simple search" functionality. We define a simple search as a single search box with no additional or advanced options. Each search was performed from the site's homepage. We did not test any "advanced/detailed search" features.
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