The perils of hiding your search bar

Homepage real estate is precious. In an attempt to squeeze in more content, many sites hit upon a seemingly clever idea: hide the search bar behind a search icon, and require users to click the icon to perform a search.

After all, if users really want to search, a simple click won’t stop them, right?


Search Usage (by week) Before and After Hiding Search Bar

The above graph shows the search usage on a popular e-commerce site before and after hiding their search bar. As you can see, the search volume fell by roughly 50%.

This is bad news for an e-commerce site. Research has shown that users who perform searches are 2-3 times more likely to convert, and also generate significantly more revenue than non-search users. In other words, more searches mean more money.

So if you’re thinking of hiding your search bar, resist the temptation. Instead, think about making it even more prominent and easy-to-use. Encouraging more of your users to search will generally increase revenue.


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