Parametric Search & the Digital Experience 

The electronics design process is constantly evolving. Big ideas come out of nowhere and, before you know it, you’re sketching out plans. However, turning your vision into a reality can be difficult, and finding the right components for your design even harder.

That’s why parametric search has become indispensable to designers. In a recent survey on search usage, 85% of engineers said that parametric search impacted vendor confidence. Of course, not all parametric search functions are created equally. So, what should electronics companies prioritize when implementing parametric search?

The Best Parametric Search

The easiest way to improve the experience on your site is to make your parametric search engine easy to use. Some parametric search interfaces are too focused on cramming as much data and interaction points into the system as possible. Users want datasheets, application notes, and purchasing options. Having to click multiple times to find what you need severely degrades the user experience. Keep things simple and thoughtfully designed to prevent laggy, unresponsive systems.

Parametric search that can handle input variation should always return consistent outcomes, which ensures that users know exactly what they can return to and how. When users return to a website and enter the exact same search item with different results, it creates a frustrating experience.

The Best Parametric Search

  1. Your parametric search needs to be able to handle diverse input values, from the most basic microcontroller to the specific part number. Perhaps the user wants a transistor that runs on 30V or has a specific brand in mind. Step one is the search bar, and limiting input variance damages the customer experience before it has even begun.
  2. Always strive for value and accuracy. Most users, especially engineers, appreciate details. Having relevant information available to the parametric search results is crucial. Engineers should be able to present the most pertinent information based on the search query. This is particularly relevant when using uncommon queries. A parametric search that can provide smart, relative, and comparative information, sometimes even answering questions that the user didn’t think to ask, is optimal.
  3. Simple, however, does not mean basic. Data presentation with high-functioning filters is gold. About 85% of the time, engineers use parametric search in researching, prototyping, and conceptual design. Being able to filter, compare, and cross-check between a variety of specifications adds enormous value for users. Which product offers the highest value, and from which manufacturer? How does this change when ordered in bulk, and do other manufacturers offer a price cut? Is there an alternative product that offers the same specifications? These are common questions that cross engineers’ minds at this point of the design process, and having high-functioning makes the journey successful.
  4. Design with the user in mind, always. The sheer number of columns, filter options, the actual search results, as well as how all of these interact with one other, need to be intuitive. Tools make up a huge part of how parametric search is useful, but it’s all for naught if a new visitor can’t use it. There are a few things you can do to make these tools discoverable:

• user-friendly navigation
• simple iconography
• hide values that aren’t readily used in dropdowns but still make them easy to find

Parametric search is here to stay as a key user expectation. Surveys have shown that the majority of engineers seek out parametric search, which plays a huge role in the design process. Implement tools that deliver maximum value while streamlining the buyer's journey and embracing design philosophies that prioritize the user.

If you're interested in incorporating parametric search into your site, or if your existing search needs a little polishing, connect with our team of experts at Big Zeta and let’s start your digital transformation!

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