Collective Search: Just Spit Me Out   March 27, 2009

March 27, 2009

Collective Soul fans will recognize the lyric from December. In that song, lead singer Ed Roland kinda spits this out: “Don’t scream about, Don’t think aloud, Turn your head now baby, Just spit me out”.

That’s how I feel about site searches. Don’t make me think, don’t make me scream. Just spit it out.

Want a “spit me out” search? Just check out the search functions on cool sites like Academic Earth and Apple.

For example, on Academic Earth, if you type in “Stanford” the search results look like this:

Cool how it’s organized into 3 logical categories without my having to ask. Categories are completely contextual to the search, so different search terms return different numbers of categories. Simple, understated, spit-me-out elegance.

Want to see another example?  Check out and type in “OS”, as in “Operating System”. You should get results grouped by 1. Products, 2. The Apple Store, and 3. Support.  If there are many links in each category, then the function can be coded to just show the top N in each category.

So the next time a web developer asks you how you want your search box, just smile, look her in the eye, and sing: Don’t Scream About, Don’t think Aloud, Baby… just Spit Me Out.

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