Over the past few years we’ve seen a drastic improvement in search interfaces. The development of ugly search boxes and incomprehensible search result screens should now (hopefully) be a thing of the past. New search UI’s are designed and developed daily, that are crisp, clean, well thought out, and really help guide users to the information they’re looking for. Search based concepts and technologies are finally starting to be properly recognized as being as important as the content they’re put in place to help discover. A clean, well thought out search user interface not only makes a large difference in helping users navigate site information, but also goes a long ways towards bringing users back for more.
So we know that well thought out, clean and visually appealing search user interfaces are important, but where do we turn for design inspiration? How do we keep track of what search design patterns exist, and how these design patterns can be incorporated into search based user interfaces? Great questions! It just so happens we ask ourselves these same questions almost daily. To help answer these questions, we keep our eyes on a few different top-notch online search UI design pattern resources. We turn to these sites quite frequently, when looking for ideas to present to clients for search interface components, and when we want to see how other people are addressing common search related navigation issues. Here are what we consider to be the top 10 search related design pattern and showcase sites out there.
Endeca’s user interface design pattern library is extremely well thought out, and very search focused.
UI Patterns’ pattern library is chock full of great search related design patterns. Their examples are modern and the library is very easy to navigate.
Welie.com’s interaction design pattern library has been around for quite a while, and contains great search related design information.
A great Flickr collection of search design patterns relating to Peter Morville’s Search Patterns book.
Another great design library, with a good amount of search related design patterns. Design library elements are outlined with great screenshots and dialog.
A great web design showcase site, outlining several UI design elements. Many of these elements are search related.
We really like PatternTap’s clean and simple pattern discovery interface. A great site for search UI design inspiration.
Patterny hosts another great UI design library, with a few search related patterns and examples.
Lots of great search design content, supported by great implementation examples.
iOS specific design patterns, but can be applied to any mobile device. Great mobile search examples.