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The Right Trigger Words (15 Nov 2004)
A few years ago, we studied a handful of users while they searched for specific items of interest on large web sites. These were items they were interested in and no two users searched for the same items in this study. Each item they searched for was on the sites we were studying.

Before every user started their search, we interviewed them extensively about what they hoped to find. We had them describe their targets in excruciating detail. We recorded every word they said. Then, we set them off on their hunt, recording every page they visited on the site.

After seeing which users succeeding at finding their target content and which didn't, we analyzed each page they visited thoroughly, including the home page. Part of our analysis including studying the words they used to describe their targets.

It turned out that users were far more successful at finding their targets when the description words, which they told us before they saw the site, appeared on the home page. In the tasks where users successfully found their target content, the description words appeared on the home page 72% of the time. When users were unsuccessful, their words only appeared an average of 6% of the time on the home page.
Article URL: http://www.uie.com/articles/trigger_words/

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