Summary: Most users are unable to solve even halfway complicated problems with search. Better to redirect their efforts into more supportive user interfaces when possible.
Users are incredibly bad at finding and researching things on the web. A few years ago, I characterized users’ research skills as “incompetent,” and they’ve only gotten worse over time. “Pathetic” and “useless” are words that come to mind after this year’s user testing.
Great piece from Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox. I find it so interesting that so many people search so poorly. I’m not sure why. Background? Training? How we’re wired? I wonder if those of us old cranks who learned to search using the card catalogue aren’t better off.
Anyhow, read this.
H/T Gerry McGovern (@gerrymcgovern)