Outlook.com search

Role: Design

Apr 2013

Search is one of the most used features in any productive e-mail client. Whether a user classifies as a filer, piler, or deleter, search is a tool that is routinely used to find messages fast and efficiently. This project aim to improve the search experience in Outlook.com(used to be Hotmail) in terms of query formulation, search results and query refinement.



I was the lead designer on this project and worked with PM, researcher and developers. At the time, Outlook.com only offers basic search functionality that works well for simple searches (searching a specific e-mail address, single keyword, etc…). We tried to improve Outlook.com search functionality to make it easier for ALL users to find the messages they care about, regardless of inbox style.

User goal

The search experience can be broken down into three phases:

Search suggestions

The new search suggestion experience helps users build stronger initial queries and expose the powerful search tools that are already supported in Outlook.com.

query refinement

If a user is unable to find the desired message after issuing a query and browsing through results, there is a good chance that the initial query was too broad. By offering simple refinement tools, users will be able to quickly tweak the existing query without starting over from scratch or entering more terms.

When reading pane is turned on