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To Search or Not To Search?
It's becoming a moot question whether to apply a search engine in your site. Jared Spool's studies demonstrate how important searching systems are to users. Although their subjects weren't told to use a site's search engine to find answers, "about one-third of the people we tested usually tried a search as their initial strategy, and others resorted to it when they couldn't find an answer by following links" (browsing). Users generally expect searching to be available, certainly in larger sites. Yet, we all know how poorly many search engines actually work. They're easy to set up and easy to forget about. That's why it's important to understand how users' information needs can vary so much, and to plan and implement your searching system's interface and search zones accordingly.
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