Given the rapid adoption of smartphones, everyone in ecommerce knows the importance of developing a mobile version of their web site. What’s perhaps even more important is creating a mobile version of your site search.

Why is mobile site search so important? It’s a vital part of the web-browsing experience when you’re on a mobile device. Limited screen real estate provides little room for navigating from page to page or product to product. With effective mobile site search, people don’t need to rely on navigation – so it’s a space-effective way of getting people to the information they want to find on your site.

When you develop mobile site search, you need to take into account the unique challenges of browsing the web via these devices. Obviously, the small screen size will constrict the search choices you can offer to mobile device users. For instance, it’s very difficult to show options for refining search results. In addition, variable download speeds will limit how long these users are willing to wait for the search results to load.

These factors make site search even more crucial to a mobile website since it’s more difficult to navigate through a website via a mobile device. Therefore, you should consider giving site search prominent placement on your mobile site. Amazon does this with its own mobile site – as you can see when you visit the site, search dominates the screen.

Relevance of search results is particularly key for mobile site search, since it’s difficult to show facets to refine results – you want to make every effort to ensure the results are relevant after typing in a keyword. Users can’t or won’t scroll through pages of results to find what they need. It’s also important to keep the site search feature light in terms of images – any pictures should be small so as not to slow down page loads. On the other hand, you may want to include easy access to product reviews – people tend to use mobile devices when they are shopping, and they may want to access reviews on the spot.

We’re happy to offer advice on the best practices for mobile site search that’s fast and effective. If you’re an existing SLI customer and would like to develop a mobile version of your site search, contact your Customer Success Manager.