Challenging the Search Bar Paradigm


Challenging the Search Bar Paradigm

March 19, 2022

When we think about searching for information, we envision it all beginning with a search bar. In our search engines, social media platforms, email, folders, and so much more, the search bar is the front door to your results. 

Search bars are both graphical elements and key indicators into how we expect to engage with information retrieval. We present the input (oftentimes key words that compromise a query), and expect the output as a list of optimal results.  What if we challenge this paradigm? There’s an opportunity to think through search in a new way — thinking about redesigning search with a more intuitive, human first mindset. 

Framing of results The results we see are a reflection of the format in which we ask. Results as we know it are often links, but can be images, videos, audio responses, etc. The number of results is also open for debate — we’re used to systems that show all potential results (sometimes through extensive multi-page results), but there’s an unintuitive but possibly more optimal route in which fewer results are ideal. In many ways, the medium subconsciously is the message, setting the tone for how we expect our search tools to operate and to what degree of accuracy and personality. By imagining search beyond the search bar, we open up the possibilities to move beyond familiar paradigms and shift towards a new age of information discovery.