Design Caffeine for Search and Browse UI

Session Title

Design Caffeine for Search and Browse UI


Greg Nudelman, Simona Brusa Pasque

Session Type: Presentation

Search and browse interfaces are some of the most visited pages on typical e-commerce sites—to say nothing of a search engine like Google. However, few resources focus on improving the finding experience from the customer’s perspective. I aim to fill this gap by presenting the best content from my monthly UXMatters column, Search Matters:

1) Optimizing images, content, and actions in search UI
2) The best ways to approach no search results conditions
3) Understanding the value of a good layout and how to calculate the right vertical spacing for your site
4) How to design aspects and filters with judicious use of AJAX
5) Understanding the differences between iPhone and Web search
6) How to create dynamic landing pages, brand catalogs and category pages
7) Best practices and common pitfalls of search and browse user interface design

This is a straight-forward, practical talk about search and browse UI design, so there will be lots of before-and-after picture slides (and very few bullet points). After each section of slides (about every 10 minutes) I will pause and have a short 5 minute Q &A segment to address specific design questions and take questions from the audience.


Greg Nudelman

Greg has worked on improving search and browse interfaces for over 14 years, designing, researching, and developing multi-tier distributed applications for e-commerce, biotechnology, real estate, and social networking. Greg worked with large established companies such as eBay and CapitalOne and many startups like ThirstyPocket and IMX. In order to become intimately familiar with winning strategies for search interfaces that involve diverse inventories and complex products, Greg led 20+ participatory design sessions and watched over 100 people use various finding interfaces as part of field and lab studies. Greg is the originator of the Experience Partners concept. He loves combining storyboarding, field studies and participatory design to understand people’s pain points and design intuitive, holistic finding experiences. Greg taught a workshop on participatory design at IA Summit 2008, in Miami, Florida, and published numerous articles on search and browse UI design in JavaWorld, ASP.NETPro, and UXMatters. Greg authors a monthly column Search Matters on He is currently designing the new business social network at Ketera Technologies in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Simona Brusa Pasque

Simona is an Italian designer, expert in strategy and interaction design. In her 10 years of professional experience she has developed innovative concepts for web sites, mobile phones, and software applications that create real value for customers. She believes in the power of design as a discovery and problem solving tool. At eBay she has had the great opportunity to put her belief into practice by leading high profile vision projects with executives to define eBay long term strategy. Beyond that her great focus has been the redesign key touch points in the Search experience and the definition of the eBay Personas.

On the personal side she has achieved her 15 minutes of fame in the blogosphere with her experimentations with technologically enhanced clothing (Electric Cinderella, Flight Dream) which have also been featured in exhibitions around the world (Turin, London, Perth, Amsterdam, Los Angeles, Las Vegas).

She is currently working in San Francisco as a design strategist and consultant at Jeff Herman Consulting where she leads projects with Fortune 500 and startup companies to create compelling products.


  1. Posted September 24, 2009 at 3:56 am

    I encourage you to accept Greg’s proposal. He’s been writing an excellent series of articles on search for UXmatters, which has garnered great interest from our readers. His talk would be great addition to the conference. I’m sure it would be a very popular session.

  2. Simona Brusa Pasque
    Posted September 24, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    Having worked with Greg for a long time at eBay I know that he has a lot of first hand experience with users and with optimizing interfaces for success, always backed by real data. I’m sure his presentation will be full of precious insights.

  3. Janine Zhu
    Posted September 30, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    Simona is one of those designers who can understand, synthesize, and communicate customer needs through visualization by partnering with research. Research includes web analytic, ethnographic studies, usability testing, etc. Her visualization aligns cross-functional teams to the same page. She bases her designs on customer needs; it shows up on many projects that she has done at eBay.

    Either you already have a lot of background on eCommerce Search or just want to learn more, this session will be engaging and have a lot of insightful conversation.

  4. Corey Chandler
    Posted October 1, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    This should prove to be an insightful session – too often company search strategies are simply “make it like Google,” without fully considering the needs of a search experience within a particular context. Simona and Greg’s experience at eBay should be tremendously helpful, as it includes a number of search types (product search, people search, help documentation search), as well as the gamut of data types being searched (from highly structured information such as book catalogs to the completely unstructured space of user submitted content such as grilled cheese sandwiches!)

  5. Posted October 1, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    This should be a very interesting and relevant talk. Simona can draw from her years of experience leading the successful design or redesign of several major search projects at eBay,, and a number of startup companies. She has spent thousands of hours studying site metrics, customer behavior, search queries, and other relevant inputs. Combined with her very engaging style of presentation, this should ensure Simona and Greg’s talk will be one of the highlights of the conference.