The MagnifyingGlass Icon in Search Design Pros and Cons

The Magnifying-Glass Icon in Search Design: Pros and Cons
The Magnifying-Glass Icon in Search Design: Pros and Cons

In doing research to update our course on Emerging Patterns in Web Design, we looked more closely at what’s happening with search boxes. Many designs are swapping the traditional button labeled “Search” with a magnifying-glass icon without any label. Some even drop the text field entirely, leaving only the icon. Which version is most usable today?

Previous Guidelines About the Search Box

Our guidelines around the search field have remained the same for many years. (See the updated full list of 62 design recommendations for search). Regarding presentation, the main guidelines are:

  • Provide an easily identifiable search box in the upper right-hand corner of the page, with an open text-field...





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