Exploring the search functionality

Melissa Fisher
3 min readJan 25, 2023

I had a go just now at recording a Testing Session using Screencastify and it didn’t save the recording. :-( A bit of a shame, however, I thought to write up a few points from what I was saying out loud to record my work.

My task was to explore of the search functionality on the homebase website. https://www.homebase.co.uk/

Below are some of my tips, issues and notes.

Tip 1: Take your time to process what you are seeing on the screen. You can take your time in analysing, instead of rushing. I initially talked about seeing two pop ups when I first when to the site . Talking about what happened if I ignored the cookie or sign up pop up.

What are you seeing, how is your brain processing that information and what is the product telling you to do next?

Tip 2: Keep referring back to what you are looking at. In my case I was looking at the search functionality of a website. It is fine to go off course, however, remember what your mission was. It was quite overwhelming all the options and things on the website. Too much stuff.

I found two interesting things.

When I searched for “plates” it came back with all sorts of strange options and not what I was looking for, such as “Worktop Support Leg — Chrome Plated”. I was expecting dinner plates to appear in the search. So this raised the first issue.

Issue one: Search functionality needs optmising.

I talked a little bit about switching my “solution” to a question. I’ve had two experiences in the past. One where I was encouraged to provide solutions to problems in team discussions and others where I’m told “That’s solutionising. You’re here to report the problem.” So from this last experience I have not thrown out my solution ideas, however, tactifully made it into a question.

  • Does the search functionality need optimising? Are users finding the products that they are searching for? Plate example.

Also, what I have done is related it back to the user AND given an example from my test session, so I can show it to whoever is interested.

As I was going about my test session I noticed that I was spending a lot of time using the scroll bar going up and down the page.

Second Issue: Too much scrolling. Rhino Ladder

Spent extra time scrolling down the page to see the rhino ladder. I find that you have to scroll a lot to see the content you searched for. An example is when I click on a sale for “ladders”, but then on that next page I see two options for more sales (tools sale & hardware). Then I have to scroll down to see the ladders. This then goes onto the next problem I notice in that I can’t see the ladder picture in full. I have to keep scrolling up and down.

This was about 10–15 minutes worth of testing / talking out loud. Hopefully I can do another one with some better recording software. I might have missed some points as I am writing this up from memory.

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Melissa Fisher

Thinking outside the box and disrupting people's thinking.