The Magnifying-Glass Icon in Search Design: Pros and Cons

February 28, 2014

design / usability

In doing research to update our course on Emerging Patterns in Web Design, we looked more closely at what’s happening with search boxes. Many designs are swapping the traditional button labeled “Search” with a magnifying-glass icon without any label. Some even drop the text field entirely, leaving only the icon. Which version is most usable today?