Can Your Search Box Be Too Big?

A while back, Marketing Sherpa shared a case study (membership required) for furniture retailer Black Forest Decor. “Making the logo search box bigger” boosted conversion by 20% and revenue by a staggering 84%.

Black Forest Decor still has a modest sized search box when you compare it to the trend of super-wide boxes we see on the likes of Linens N Things, Overstock, Sears and PC Mall:

Black Forest Decor

Linens N Things



PC Mall

Certainly you don’t want a box so small your customers have to search for the search box! And enlarging your search box, making it more prominent in design, styling, “Search” button or placement, leads to higher search box use, less site abandonment and higher conversion. That makes sense.

But is there such thing as too big? I believe the answer is “yes” when the search box is so big it looks like a banner ad, or otherwise fades into the background of the other elements on your page. It’s possible that’s the case with the sites above.

As always, it’s best to test a bunch of sizes and placements before you decide which search box is right for your site.

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5 Responses to “Can Your Search Box Be Too Big?”

  1. I’m a big believer that if you’ve got a good site search experience for your customers, then you should prominently display your site’s search box. Conversely, if you have a poor search experience, you should bury the feature as approriate.

    That being said, the Sears and PC Mall examples above are GI-NORMOUS. Too big for me. Seems to be a misuse of space.


    P.S. What are your thoughts on Apple’s site search box with the merchandising incorporated into the type-ahead feature?

  2. Steve says:

    I personally feel the search box on the 3 examples above is too large.

    It gives site search too much prominence and says “you would never find what you are looking for in our navigation so why not try here instead”.

    I feel the search box should be of equal prominence to the traditional navigation and any filtered navigation.

  3. John Hyde says:

    Kinda weird how Sears and PC Mall have both chosen a huge box then tried to hide it in the styling…

  4. To answer your question about Apple, David, I love the rich auto-completion feature (also found on Adobe, Microsoft and others)

    Loved it so much I blogged about it here

  5. I like big search boxes. I think if your website is related to Online shopping or search engine or a Q&A site, it’s alright. For me I’d like to wee the whole phrase/sentence I’m trying to search.

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