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November 2, 2006 12:03 AM

Broken: CNN website default search setting

CnnsearchJoshua Shields points out:

The search feature default setting on the CNN website is broken. Sure, it has the same problem that all news sites are notorious for - that the search function has problems locating strongly relevant results in response to what you typed into the search box.

However, the search has something else wrong with it. Like at most websites, you are given the choice to search just the website you are on or the entire web. What's broken here is that the default selection for the CNN site search is "The Web."

Therefore, *every time* I come to, I enter something into the search box then I realize that I forgot to change the search setting to "" So I have to start my search over again.

If I'm going to, it is more likely that I want to search for an article on, not the entire web. It would make more sense to make the search default "" as opposed to "The Web."


Yes, broken. The reason (I think) that there are two selections is because the search is powered by Google or Yahoo, and they want their sites to become popular.


Posted by: Sean Z. at November 2, 2006 12:15 AM

Good observation, Sean, but I believe Yahoo and Google are already popular, hence their use.

The web option by default is broken.

Posted by: T-Bone at November 2, 2006 01:41 AM

OK... I'll be the first to say something counter to what has been posted (and get yelled at for it... I don't mind).

Are you kidding me? THIS is what TIB has reduced itself to for an entry? The previous one about the Vatican sign was funny and belonged, as it was both broken, and literally broken... but come on people, this is getting silly with an entry like this.

Maybe its getting difficult to find something worthwhile to post here every day?

And yes, I know I'll get the... "then why don't you send something in" comment. Well, I have, several times. They have never been used though. Maybe because at the time, they were considered **ahem** petty... kinda like this one.

I just wish I had gotten a picture of the one thing I KNOW would have made it as a post... a real estate sign I saw that advertised a 3 family duplex for sale...

Posted by: Memnon at November 2, 2006 04:22 PM

Hopefully Memnon was more interested in being contrary than in being correct.

As "This Is Broken" is about the User Experience, then CNN's "default selection" is a great example of a broken online experience.

Perhaps a budding web designer will read this and will remember to consider usability before making this same decision in the future (or better yet will include the Usability Group in all user-facing projects).

Unfortunately there is a high probability that CNN has received a "bounty" of some type from Yahoo in exchange for their inclusion (and "default" status). A decision like this would not have been made lightly and the "Powered by Yahoo!" indicates to me that the bottom line won out over Customer Experience.

Shame, shame, shame on CNN.

Posted by: Drew Crecente at November 2, 2006 07:14 PM

actually I start to see that a lot more now... such as yahoo autos... when you search for something it gives you the web search instead of searrching yahoo autos...

Posted by: ragingbullxxx at November 2, 2006 08:33 PM

That drives me nuts on Myspace too -- why would i want to use Myspace or CNN to search the web?

Could it be that they get paid for the traffic they drive to Google?

Posted by: Nedward at November 3, 2006 07:56 PM

You can use GreaseMonkey to correct this problem, but then it will only be fixed on one computer. You need to install the script on every computer you want to fix.

Posted by: zzo38 at November 5, 2006 11:30 PM

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