Top 10 lessons learned while rebuilding Instagram Search
Here are some simple tips to make a better search experience on mobile.
Search Top 10
- The best way to make search feel fast is to already have the answers on the phone. (local caching)
- The second best way to make search feel fast is to set results for a given query, say “lad” and results in the same response from the server for most likely next letters, like “lady” “ladd”
- Don’t overcomplicate your definition of a search session. See how others have done it.
- Total Search volume is a decent indicator of improvements, but alone can be dangerous. A crappier search experience causes more searches to find something.
- Logistic regressions. Anything more spicey like Neural Networks should only be played with after you have hit diminishing returns on your simple logistic regressions.
- 8–10 features in your ranking model, max. It’s often that 3–4 features have most of the predictive power.
- Test a minimum of 2 models a week.
- Make sure to support the two main search intents, trying to find a specific person, and trying to browse many people.
- A dynamic typeahead that returns results before the user is done typing is as important as ranking. However, consider only sending queries to the server 150ms after the last key press.
- Handling misspellings and foreign characters, for example “ö” to “o”, can immediately improve your top line metrics 3–5%.