nicolas leroy

Refreshed search result pages at Twenga

April 14, 2010

BizRate improving its faceted navigation, Bing Shopping launching new features, Shopping.com tuning its header and search pages… These days, CSEs are busy improving their core business, and Twenga is doing the same by updating its search result pages. Quick review of the changes…

Filtering

The main change concerns the faceted navigation that is removed from the left column, and is replaced by drop-down panels. Considering Twenga had a similar implementation before its redesign launched in August 09, this change appears to me like a switch-back to a solution that Twenga considered to perform more.

Filters as drop-down menus are not a bad solution as such… The common filters across all result pages (“category”, “brand”, “price”, “shops”) are available as standalone refining options, when contextual filters (i.e: “Product line”, “Megapixels”… for digital cameras) are grouped into a “more search criteria”…

While this solution is closed to the recent changes at BizRate, I’m not really convinced by the positioning of those filters on the Twenga site… When BizRate kept them on a left column Twenga put them in an horizontal bar that also contains the number of results and the sorting options… and this bar is displayed above sponsored links and sponsored offers… I have the feeling those options will remain mostly invisible to most users (but reducing their visibility may be a goal of this redesign in order to improve leads ratio).

Price filter:

Filter drop-down at Twenga (Apr'10)

The “more search criteria” panel:

"more search options" panel at Twenga (Apr'10)

Product and offer display

The grid view disappears and the list view is the default one (similar approach at BizRate)… It makes sense to me: grid view or list view, both have advantages and disadvantages; but “choose one and do it well” is the way to go, I believe.

The product display has been simplified: no more history trend in the extended view, but a highlight of key features (that are clickable and participate to the navigation) and some sharing options on Facebook, Twitter…

Product display at Twenga (Apr'10)

Search result page layout

As a consequence of the design choices on filters, the left column disappears and the offers in list view are now wider. The right hand side column is used to display contextual modules or sponsored offers… Sponsored offers can also be displayed above the main results, and are highlighted using a different background colors.

Search result page at Twenga (Apr'10)

Final thoughts

I think those changes highlight the difficulty to build for the end user, while ensuring short-term revenues… Among CSEs, Twenga surely has the deepest taxonomy for products. This is a strong asset to build navigation options on the long tail of products; and while Twenga surely finds this asset valuable to build its SEO strategy, I regret it had to reduce the visibility of its faceted navigation to a level it is difficult to spot in the page. I still think the search and browse experiences must be intertwined and not opposed…