Hardware Search Hardships – Lowe’s

In a previous post, Design for Context, Part II, I dug into the Home Depot a bit for their use of the self-checkout stand. Well, the Home Depot got it’s lashes and now it’s time for Lowe’s to hear a few gripes. In this post and my next post, I’m going to do a side-by-side comparison on the experience of searching for a ladder at Lowes.com (in this post) and at HomeDepot.com (in my next post). Last week, I asked the question “What makes for a great search experience?” and listed a couple of my personal requirements. They were: 1. Ubiquitous (or uniform) search box 2. Results easy to identify, even on a crowded page 3. Ability to refine or start over I’ll add to that list the #1 thing John mentioned in his comment: 4. Ability of search to differentiate between a search for an actual product or information about a product. I’ll test this rule be searching each site for “tips on ladder maintenance and repair.” What I intend to do for both Lowe’s and the Home Depot is test each site according to the four rules above.