Drupal: Placement of the search box makes a huge difference

Drupal LogoI am continually making striving to improve the design of our community site, Unreality Shout. I’m quite fond of the grid-based design, but there’s usually something that needs refined or improved.

A couple of days ago, I decided to move the search box to a more prominent place on the page. When I designed the site, I hastily threw in a search form as a sidebar block…right down around the bottom. I was never 100% happy about this arrangement, but my Drupal skills were weaker then.

However, I’ve been using Shout a lot more recently. And it started to bug me that I had to scroll to the bottom of the page to search for content. So I decided to bite the bullet and hard-code a search box into the top right-hand side of the header.

Tip for newbies: I thought I had all the code in place. But the search box failed to appear. Turns out that although I’d enabled the Search Box option in the global settings, it was switched off in my theme-specific settings. Whoops! Hopefully that’s a time-saver for somebody else!

I might share the code snippets I used to implement this in the future. But that’s not the reason for this post. The reason for this post is that I checked Google Analytics for the last two days and had a brilliant 130 hits to the search page. That’s an average of 65 searches per day. I checked the previous 10 days worth of stats (before the changes were implemented), and the search facility was only used an average of 5 times per day.

That was a big surprise for me – I didn’t realise that visitors used internal search so much. And from a site owner’s perspective, anything that keeps your visitor engaged and on your site for longer is a good thing. Kinda makes you wonder what else you’re missing from a usability perspective.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s