Terminology - See vs. View, Find vs. Search

16 Aug 2010 - 6:48pm
6 years ago
2 replies
3961 reads

Does anybody have research showing which terms are better for call to action on a website that we can use consistently across tasks? I'm talking about action within the site, so the link would say either "Search for a gold parachute" or "Find a gold parachute."

Terms we're interested in:

  • FInd vs. Search
  • See vs. View




19 Aug 2010 - 11:38am

Marti Hearst summarizes a lot of research and advice about search UIs here:   http://searchuserinterfaces.com/book/

22 Aug 2010 - 1:01am
Mark Kirkland

Hi Carol,

My first personal, gut impressions of the terms you are considering are:

  • Search - focuses on the activity of "Finding".
  • Find - focuses on reaching the goal of "Searching", and thus seems more hopeful or positive.

So, to me, choosing one over the other would be a matter of how certain we are that a user WILL FIND what they are searching for on our site or in our application. And I'm sure that most of us would hope that users will find what they are looking for. Therefore, in such instances, "Find" would probably be a more appropriate choice. Also, since "Find" tends to be more hopeful or positive, it might simply be an overall better choice than "Search" since most users look forward to "Finding" what they are looking for, not the laborious process associated with "Searching" for it.

With regard to your other two terms...

  • See - tends to indicate seeing something that is generally static (e.g, a list, a picture, a message, etc.).
  • View - seems to suggest seeing something that may be more dynamic (e.g., a video, real-time data, updatable personal info, etc.).

These are my initial gut reactions to the terms you are considering. They are, again, my personal thoughts, based on my experiences as a designer of user interfaces over the years, and not based on any detailed research.

I would love to hear what others think or what actual research exists on the use of these terms.
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