Search is the most important site navigation feature. Therefore, showing both the search query and the total number of search results goes a long way in improving the search experience for your customers.
Why persisting the search query is important
Sometimes people can get distracted. If someone turns back to their phone or computer after a twenty-minute disruption and sees a list of products, seeing a title indicating what those products are goes a long way in reminding them of what they were doing before.
Persisting the search query also simplifies the process of tweaking the search term. Customers don’t always find what they’re searching for the first time. Sometimes they get too few results or even none, sometimes they get too many results, and at other times they get “wrong” results: usually after misspelling a search term.
Let’s take Joan as an example. She wants to buy a sundress so she enters the term “dress” into the search bar and receives 2,000 results. That’s too many so she narrows down the search term to “sundress” and receives 200 results. These are still too many so she tweaks the search term to “yellow floral sundress” and finally receives 16 results.
If the search query isn’t persisted, Joan would have to retype the entirety of the new search term every time she needs to tweak her query. As you can see, that’s not very user friendly. When the search term persists on the results page, however, she only needs to add a word or two to the existing one(s).
Why showing the number of results is important
The number of search results is often used as a gauge for how effective the search is. Let’s stick with Joan’s example above. When she receives too many results, she narrows the search terms in order to obtain more relevant results. If she doesn’t have access to the total number of results, she has no way of knowing how broad her search is and she might find herself scrolling through an endless list of dresses or be forced to use filters which are a little cumbersome on mobile.
Make it visible
The number of results should be clearly visible above and below the list of search results. Displaying it in small or faint text makes it easy to overlook. A good practice is to include it in the search header. Something like, “16 results found for ‘yellow floral sundress’”