Ben E. C. Boyter's Blog

Examples of Bad Website Search (329 words)

I thought I would post some examples of websites with bad website search. Rather then pick on some small blogs lets go after the big boys. Starting with eBay.

“There was a screenshot of ebay here at one point but now it is lost for all time..”

The link to the left is an example of a simple search I performed on eBay for an iPad. The search comes back pretty quickly which is good but has a few issues I will go through now.

Firstly I don’t see any actual iPads for sale in the first few results. People generally only look at the first page of results, or if there are too many scroll about half way down. I am looking to buy an iPad my first instinctive search comes up with nothing till I scroll down quite a ways.

Secondly, there are the suggested related searches which consists of the following, “iphone, ipod touch, kindle, ipod, laptop, apple ipad, ipad 64gb, ipad 16gb, ipad 3g”. Fair enough, they are all related to the iPad but I would hardly call any of them useful to me looking to buy an iPad. Things that I might consider useful would be additional chargers, screen protectors, cases and the like. Its only the last few suggestions “ipad 64gb, apple ipad” which are getting into the zone of what I want and all of them are actually refinements to my initial search not related searches.

Now I thought perhaps I was being a little too difficult on eBay. So I went with their suggestion of searching for “apple ipad”. Guess what? Same results, same relations, same lack of what I actually want. In short website search fail.

If I was running the search team at eBay I would be grilling my team for these results. Now eBay may know something I don’t about how these results translate to sales but from an end user perspective this is just a big fail.