nicolas leroy

BizRate testing new search result pages on its US site

November 11, 2009

BizRate US is currently bucket-testing a complete make-over of its search result pages, including a new branding. Quick review of those changes…

Bucket-testing branding changes…

That’s a question I’ve asked myself a few times: how to bucket-test changes on your branding (new logo, new tagline…) ? Doing it on a sub-set of your site can be disturbing for users; while testing it on your whole site make the experiment quite complex to set up… BizRate has chosen the first option: the homepage still displays the “old look”, and users are exposed to the new branding only when doing a search.

Branding changes

Personal taste: I’m not convinced by any of those changes…

New site header

The new site header has a simplified design compared to the previous one:

Overall, I like this approach to simplicity, and the focus on search.

Bizrate drop-down menu

Results

Grid view is replacing list view in this new design (another CSE that switches to grid view by default):

canon eos

Extended view

Filtering

Little change on the guided navigation: still displayed on the left-hand side, behavior almost unchanged… However, an interesting filtering option is available on each offer: “see more like this”.

While I appreciate this new filtering option, I feel this is not properly integrated with the guided navigation. Considered the visual importance of the “see more like this” link on each offer and the fact guided navigation is displayed below LREC ad placement (so not in a very visible position), we may wonder why BizRate has not pushed the concept further: use it as a substitute to the guided navigation. No more guided navigation = more real estate to display more offers. For sure, it would create some challenges regarding multi-selection / multi-filtering.

More like this - choose refining option

More like this - results

Offers vs products

A very important move between the previous design and this new design: the switch from products (aggregated view of merchant offers) to offers. Interesting switch… For sure, it means one less click from the search result pages to the merchant site. I imagine this switch is more a business decision than a decision to improve user experience.

Final thoughts

I have mixed feelings about this redesign. I’m sure one of the reasons is to not have the big picture (i.e: how will the product pages evolve with the new style? How will the new branding be explained on the homepage?)… The one exciting idea I will keep in mind is the “see more like this” option as a way to complement / replace / reduce classic guided navigation.

Current BizRate design:

BizRate current design