Jan 04 2011

Showcase of Inspiring Search Box Designs


Having an aesthetic search box on a website is as important as being capable of establishing good content on the website itself. It is true that one could provide categories in order to allow users rummage through content to find what they may be looking for on the site.
Nevertheless, the fact of having a search box on the site will facilitate the process for the user since they will be able to find precisely what they are looking for. Pay attention to just how important it is to implement a well-working search engine on a website.

Even though external search engines e.g., Bing, ASK, Yahoo! and so on, are there to deliver the same function, just in case your visitors may consist of the more Internet savvy users, they will intentionally degrade the quality of your site for not having any on-site. This is because they know just how much this situation influences the overall grade of the site.

In conclusion to our introduction, a number of ways you can impress your audience will be listed, with a fully functioning on-site search engine that also lets users devour its aesthetic pleasure with new examples on existing websites.

Auto Search Suggestion

This feature became popular after Facebook’s launch of auto search suggestion. Not only it became a trend but it is also useful for giving users optimized results when installed properly.

Playlist Now
This search box was created by Alvin Thong. Instant search results lists the results matching your search query as your are typing it in a dynamic form without having the entire page refreshing.


It is truly iconic given the purple and magenta as the background and a translucent border surrounding the search box to provide a great contrast. Notice the approx. 20 pixels left indent on the auto suggestion list — making it very vivid for the user to see. The white background also helps users see clearly that it is a textbox and having a white background on it helps to have a clearer vision.

Nico’s Search Box
Nico added a scroll module for alphabetical order purposes.


Get Satisfaction
Get Satisfaction doesn’t only provide auto suggestion but it categorizes the results into “Companies” and “Products” — helping users refine their search automatically without effort.


Guillermo’s MooTools Textbox List
Mac OS X-like tokens also work well for search for tags. In this case, Guillermo has implemented the same feature but in PHP making it feasible to be used on websites not just desktop applications. Also, notice the “x” button at the right of each token signifying that they can be deleted.


Remember The Milk
When searching for tags in the web app, Remember The Milk, the letters you are typing inside the textfield are emphasized in the auto suggestion list. This serves to let you know which letters in your query matches the results.




Tutorials on How to Implement Auto Search Suggestion

Instant Search Results

Authentic Jobs
Before Google’s instant results, there was Authentic Jobs’ instant results.


A couple of months ago, Google released some new features to their products. One of them being Google Instant.


Stuart’s Search Box
It also allows you to display previews of the search results but not all of the search results — as in Stuart’s case.


Tutorials on How to Implement Instant Search

With the use of AJAX, this can easily be done on any website:

Integrating Filters with a Search Box

As an alternate to providing suggestions to optimize results, enabling users to filter their results before searching is also a useful technique.





New York Magazine




Brian’s Search Box


CSS Tricks


Further Tutorials

Creating a mega drop down menu is how you can put in check boxes and radio buttons in your search box so here are a few resources teaching you how to do so:

Saving Space

Despite the evidence of formal surveys and statistics, many users today (analyzing how you, yourself, press enter to search instead of clicking a button), we can save space by:

  • Ommiting separated buttons
  • Ommitting buttons entirely
  • Putting replaceable text inside the textbox instead of an individual label.

Ommitting Separated Buttons

By putting the buttons as part of the search box, you can save space. Also, if your target demographics are close to being Internet savvy and they know the standard web elements and icons, you can afford putting a magnifying glass icon instead of a long “SEARCH” button.

Scraplr Blog


Deziner Folio


Ommitting Buttons Entirely

Although, this could sometimes give trouble since older generations are not customed to pressing enter to execute the search function. Therefore, you may have to perform a bit of audience demographics study before choosing this method. Otherwise, they’re great for saving space.

One Fused Life
The blog of Lasha Krikheli features a search box that uses replaceable text inside the search box, thus, symbolizing that it is a search box without the need of extra labels.


The Web Squeeze Forum


Putting Replaceable Text Inside the Textbox Instead of an Individual Label

As in Lasha’s case, replaceable text can help you save space without putting in a separate label. Below the showcase lists tutorials on how you can achieve this with the usage a bit of JavaScript.



The Web Squeeze Magazine


Tutorials on How to Implement Replaceable Text Inside Textboxes

This is usually done with the help of JavaScript so look below for such tutorials:

Increase Recognition by Keeping it Nice and Clean

Here is a list of examples of making your search box recognizable and unique to the rest of your page:

New York Times
Here, the container of the search box pops out of the rest of the navigation bar — giving it more focus for the user to point out where the search bar is.


Uses a Twitter bird icon and a tiny notification dialog to help the search box gain focus from the user. Designed by Richard Henry.




Go FrenchLabs’ Search Google


Various Search Boxes

Dribbble is an exlusive club for designers whose work is recognized by the community and fellow designers around the block. Overtime, it has become a place for inspiration. You can expect only the best from its members. Check out the designs on there once in a while if you need new ideas.

Kevin’s Search Box


Ben’s Search Box


Jeremy’s Search Box


Thijs’s Search Box


Freshface’s Search Box


Clark’s Search Box


Robbie’s Search Box


Mike’s Search Box


Visual Idiot’s Search Box


Ben Rowe’s Search Box


Nathan’s Search Box


John’s Search Box


John’s Search Box


Adrian’s Search Box


Jason’s Search Box


Alexis’ Search Box


Jonatan’s Search Box


Andrew’s Search Box


Pete’s Search Box


Phil’s Search Box


Joey’s Search Box


Other Resources

You may also be interested in the following articles and related resources:


About the Author

Alexis Brille is Lead Visual at Quantes and Chief Creative Officer of Guerilla Pixels, a creative design and development studio in California, run also by her partner in crime, a Maestro in the field, Dan Giulvezan. They're all about creating elegant custom design and coding for web, desktop, iPhone, iPad, Android and BlackBerry apps.

Comments and Discussions
  • Vivek Parmar, 04 January 2011

    some of them are good. you forget to include honeytechblog + webdesignerdepot + and other design blog also

  • Alireza, 04 January 2011

    thanks,very useful article.

  • Walter, 04 January 2011

    Wow, very inspirational!

    You should also check Endeca.com-powered websites; they often feature different search interfaces in the guided navigation on the left.

  • Theo, 04 January 2011

    Nice and useful article on search boxes!

  • Team Playlistnow, 04 January 2011

    Thanks for the mention :)

  • Aaron, 04 January 2011

    No love for the Download.com search box? We’ve got a nice platform filter that pops up on entry, and then search suggestions when you start typing…

    I’m probably biased, but I think it’s pretty slick!

  • Mizan, 05 January 2011

    Thanks for your great help with this tutorial.

  • Sarah, 05 January 2011

    Very interesting an often overlooked subject!

  • NK Smith, 05 January 2011

    As others have said, great article on something that’s not mentioned very often… There are so many choices here. I wonder what type of box is most utilized in e-commerce sites.

  • jackson, 05 January 2011

    all these search boxes are totally awesome nice job guys and gals

  • Cille, 06 January 2011

    Some of them are good. I like playlistnow search box.

  • Ankit Bathija, 07 January 2011

    Hey Alexis,
    You should check out Quora’s search box too. Damn amazing.

    • Alexis Brille, 10 January 2011

      Ah, yes! Good one, Ankit.

      Started this article way before Quora got really famous, though.

  • Nick, 09 January 2011

    This is easily the most complete list of search boxes, search design, and predictive suggest I’ve ever seen. My upcoming redesigns will definitely include some of these ideas.. hopefully I can manipulate the basic ajax-suggest built into Magento Commerce

    • Alexis Brille, 10 January 2011

      I live for people like you.

      I’m glad ’twas useful, Nick.

  • zeeshan, 10 January 2011

    thanks,very useful

  • pillows to stop snoring, 18 January 2011

    As a final point, a good web site that is not in my deal with trying to regularly promote me something. Thanks, please retain up the good perform.

  • Scott Levy, 11 January 2012

    Nice post. I found this blog with withbest practices for creating a search form that is quick and easy to use

  • srinivas, 15 February 2013

    Nice post

  • John Barban, 19 November 2013

    Thanks for the mention :)

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