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Implementing The Search Feature For Mobile Apps
20 Jun 2020

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Implementing The Search Feature For Mobile Apps

Mobile app search is a relatively complex feature and there is a lot to be covered on this subject. However,  I will discuss how to choose between the two most popular ways to use the search on your app: search bar on the landing screen, and search tab on the navigation bar.

Too many apps that we use every day have the search feature. The way search is applied in these apps may be very distinct. But why are separate iterations of the same feature required? Is one better than the next? Let's figure it out.


Search bar on an app landing screen

 Search bar on an app landing screen

This search is not as findable as the search bar on the landing screen, but as users can easily reach it with their thumbs, it is easily accessible.

Search is getting a full screen for itself in this case. This screen has a search bar at the top, and the rest of the screen is filled with data that would either help the user search or help the user explore the platform's content. This facilitates an exploratory search of the user who has not yet had a clear intent.


So, search bar or the search tab?

So, search bar or the search tab?

Both the searches help different user intentions. And that's not everything, all searches always rely on the content type of the platform and depend on the type of platform.   

When should you use a search bar on a landing screen?

When should you use a search bar on a landing screen

  • The primary goal of the user behind opening the app may be to look for something. Get a glance at Google Maps, Uber, or Zomato, for instance. Most of the time people are opening these apps specifically to search for a place, a restaurant, or a meal.
  • The consumer has a clear intention behind the search, as in the case of social media where users usually search for other users or brands. Most of the time they realize what the user's name or website could be, even though they aren't entirely sure how it's pronounced. It's an unusual risk with these sites where the customer would have just ambiguous details regarding the stuff they 're searching with. And even if this potential arises, the platform can't do much to help the user.


When should you use a search tab on the navigation bar?

When should you use a search tab on the navigation bar

  • You want to increase user engagement by letting users discover different and unique content on the platform  Consider  Instagram and Twitter for reference. These apps aim to keep the users glued to the app for longer, which is why they provide customized content outside of your network to help you find new users or information that might be of interest to you.
  • The user is not sure what they are searching for and the framework will help the user to locate what they want. Look at Netflix and Uber Eats for instance. They encourage users to use genres and cuisines to explore the device. This appeals to the user who knows that he wants to watch a sitcom, for example but is not really sure which one to watch from.


How has Airbnb implemented search functionalities?

How has Airbnb implemented search functionalities

Airbnb utilizes a combination of the two types.  They have a search bar on the home screen and the search tab is present on the landing page.

Bearing in mind the Airbnb context, I think it makes a lot of sense. By doing so, they account for two categories of users — users with a particular target in mind that will use the search bar (users with strong intention) and users who do not have a clear target in mind, and who are in the process of finding the target (users who require some kind of exploratory search).

Both of these variations have both pros and cons. Both are suitable for specific situations. Going through both of the above cases, we may infer that two variables dictate the search to use—users' interests coming to the app and the app's future offers.


Royex Technologies is a mobile app development company based in Dubai. We have worked with more than 300 clients globally since 2013. We have developed over 50 mobile apps of all kinds so we have the skill and expertise to deliver you a quality finished product that will grow your business. For more information please visit our website at or call us now at +971566027916

About the Author

Rajib Roy

Rajib Roy, CEO of Royex Technologies is a highly motivated, genuinely flexible and exceptionally hard-working person. He is a Systems Architect with a background encompassing a decade of experience in software development. Having played a key role in the development and deployment of projects and solutions that have been adopted by leading retail, hospitality and travel sector clients, his skills lie in planning cost-effective solutions and building and coordinating dedicated, highly-skilled teams that convert ideas and concepts into innovative, functional and ultimately profitable products.

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