Most users use the search box as a last-ditch effort to find something before leaving a website. As a utilitarian element, the backend process of a search bar is essential. Yet many designers ignore the frontend design. However, this small feature plays an important role in a good user experience and should include style.
This article will discuss design practices and will provide a selection of CSS search box designs.
Search Bar Design Practices
When to Use a Search Box
Not every website needs a search function. A search box is to help viewers find information fast. If a website has a good layout and is well organized, then it does not need a search box. It is best to include a search box when a website is growing and contains a lot of content. This way users can find what they are looking for.
CSS Search Box Design Principles
The search bar must be visible, recognizable, simple, and usable. It should fit the design of the website but also stand out. The following design practices will help to do just that.
Search Box Location
Based on the common F-shaped scanning pattern, the best place to put the search bar is in the top left or right of the page. When creating a website that does not conform to traditional design practices, make sure that the search box is visible and in a location that visitors will find it.
The Search Button
The submit button can make or break the search box. Here are best practices for the search button:
- Make it look like a button
- Do not make it too small
- Make it stand out
- Name it something intuitive like “Search”
- It is best not to provide more than one search button as this can confuse visitors
Search Input Field
The search input field also has an impact on the style of the search box. Good design practice is to include a placeholder text in the search field. Placeholder text indicates that viewers can search and it can suggest what to search. Also, make sure that the search field is not too short limiting the search query.
Best CSS Search Box Design Examples
This is a morphing search box. It is a nice solution for small screens so the search field is out of the way. A magnifying glass is an unmistakable indicator for a search bar. When clicked on, it morphs into a full-size search bar. Clicking on the “X” shrinks it back to a magnifying glass.
Expandable Search Form with CSS3
The CSS of this search bar allows it to expand and adapt without compromising style. The frame will expand or contract according to the number of characters entered.
Animated Search Form With Micro Interactions
Here is another search bar that is a great design for small screens. It includes small animations that make it more exciting. It starts as a search icon in a circle. Clicking on it makes it transition into a search bar with rounded corners.
Bouncy Search Box
Search boxes should be simple but they do not have to be boring. A bounce adds some excitement to this search box. It has a minimal design displaying a search icon. But when clicked on, it expands with a little bounce.
Amazon-like Search Box
Amazon uses a comprehensive search bar to organize its huge selection of products. This search box uses a similar design to help users find what they need faster. It is perfect for websites with a large catalog of products.
CSS3 Search Form
This is a raised-up search form that includes all the best search box design practices. It is simple, visible, and helpful for visitors. It includes a history feature and allows visitors to delete previous search queries.
Animated Search Interaction
Animation always adds excitement to website elements. This search box starts as the classic magnifying search icon. The glass transitions into the search field and the handle into the search button. HTML5 validation of non-blank input makes sure the search input field stays open.
Search Box in Content Moves to Fixed Header
After submitting a search, visitors often have to scroll through a lot of content. This is even more true with mobile devices. Here is a sticky header that attaches to the top of the page and stays there as visitors scroll down. This is useful if they do not find the information they are looking for. Instead of scrolling all the way back to the top, they can submit another search right away.
Animated Search Bar
Here is another option for a box with a lot of animations. It is a simple search bar but includes smart design features. First, the search icon slides into a bar almost as if it is trying to be elegant. Second, it includes a delete icon that deletes the search input text and closes the bar.
Google Powered Site Search
This search engine includes jQuery and allows visitors to submit a custom search. Visitors can select options to search the web, images, news, and videos. It provides a structured and advanced search form.
Search field animation
This is a stylish search box that adds extra flair to delight its users. When a visitor submits a search the magnifying glass icon scans the text. Then it displays the results in a card-like layout.
Soft Search Box
Use this for a straightforward, simple search bar without animations and effects. It is an HTML and CSS structure that uses a minimal color scheme. It contains an icon instead of a search button and has placeholder text.
Expandable Search Bar Animation
An expandable search bar is a great way to keep a website organized and uncluttered. This is a rounded search bar that maintains a minimalistic style. It expands on hover and condenses when the mouse moves away.
Simple Search Bar
After looking at search boxes with many fancy features it is nice to see a basic one. This is a classic and simple design with a search button and text field. The placeholder text says “what are you looking for?” and allows an unlimited amount of characters.
Material Full-Screen Search Transition
While some websites choose to downplay the search box, others embrace it and make it a main feature. This search form turns a small magnifying glass icon into a search box that fills the whole screen. The background color of the icon fills the screen. A large font size placeholder beckons visitors to type a search inquiry. The magnifying glass itself spins into an exit button. Clicking on the exit button makes the search box shrink back to a small icon.
Expanding Search Bar HTML & CSS
Wobbly Search Bar
No visitor can miss this search bar. It is a unique and playful bar that stands out. It is perfect for websites that go against traditional website design. Each letter of the word “search” is in a different circle and has a different color. The circles bounce up and down as if they are doing the wave.
Animated Search Box
For those who like animation, this search box is full of delightful animated features. It starts as a magnifying glass with a white background. When a user clicks on it, it expands to include a search input field. The placeholder jumps into place and an exit button spins to its position.
Fancy Search Box
Fancy Search Box allows for a heading and a subheading. It has a round border-radius but with a click, the round corners vanish and a single line remains.
Search Box Focus Effect
The colors presented with this search form attract the focus of viewers. At first, a simple, plain, and colorless search box is displayed. When a visitor clicks on it, the background bursts into color and an accent color highlights the input field.
CSS3 Search Box with On-focus Suggestion Box
This search box has a simple design but includes several effects that make it appealing. The predictive text provides search suggestions and helps visitors conduct a quick search. It also has round corner features and a shadow.
Simple Custom Search
Search bars that provide custom searches are often large and unappealing. In contrast, this search bar provides visitors custom search options with a simple design. It displays small icons and tooltips so that visitors can perform a specific site search.
Simple Voice Search Field
Viewers who are on the move prefer voice searches over manual ones. This search bar supports voice searches. It is perfect for map or traveling applications to attract those who are too busy to type in keywords.
Transparent Search Box
Although a search box should stand out, it should not be the main focus of the page. Here is a search box with a transparent background so that it blends into the webpage. The border color is a thick white line so that it is still visible.
Ending thoughts on CSS Search Box
As noted above, a search box plays an important role as a functional element of the web. It helps save viewers time and energy as they search through a website. However, it is also part of the whole website experience and thus should not be ignored during the designing process.
There are few aspects to a search box, but with some creativity, they can have their own style and appeal to visitors. Of course, each site will have a different search form to accommodate different scenarios. Some need a basic layout, while others need to provide custom search options to enhance the searching experience. In every scenario, it is possible to create an appealing and usable search bar.
The CSS search box examples above include functional and stylish options that are useful for all types of websites.
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