ShopSite uses search templates to control the appearance of search results pages. A search template has only one definition in it, but ShopSite allows merchants to set an Override Template for products and page links. The override templates will be used to present the product or link on the search results page, rather than using the default templates selected for those products or links. This feature not only allows for a more search-oriented presentation for the search results page, it guarantees that all products or links will have a consistent presentation, regardless of what the default templates are set as.
The Search Results definition is similar in many respects to a Store Page definition, and it can even use some of the same tags. Unlike store pages, however, search results are listed dynamically, based off the results of the customer's query.
The following elements can be included in a Search Results definition. Many of these elements are identical to what they are in a normal Store Page; the key difference is that search results are listed, rather than products.
Universal Header or Footer
ShopSite allows merchants to design a header and a footer that can be included on any store page. The universal header might include the store name and logo, or links to non-store pages such as a Company page. The footer might include your copyright notice and a link to legal information. Ultimately, anything you want to be presented on every store page could be included in the header or footer.
The name of a page could be nothing more than a name the merchant uses to keep track of the pages in the back office. Alternately, the name of a page could be used as the HTML title, and in the HTML body. The page name could also be used for links to the page, although there is also a Page Link Name for that use.
Page Banner Graphic
Two possible ways to use the banner graphic on a page could be as an icon-style image that goes beside the Page Name, or it could be the page name rendered in an attractive, graphical format. There are numerous ways to use the page banner graphic; it doesn't even have to be in the banner, if you would rather use it somewhere else in the page.
ShopSite provides three specific text fields for use by merchants. These text fields can be used to include a description of the page's content, or instructions for the page, or any other use you can think of. ShopSite allows merchants to insert HTML into the Page Text fields in the Back Office, so you will probably need to accommodate for that in your template designs.
The search results contain two possible types of elements, a product or a link. When a customer searches for a keyword, ShopSite searches the products database for any matching products. The matching product is then returned as a search result and displayed on the search results page. Next, ShopSite determines which page or pages should be linked to along with that product, and returns those links as well. If there is more than one page link to be returned, all those links will be listed before the next matching product.
Another point to note regarding search results has to do with products and their subproducts. If you have designed your templates to use subproducts for cross-selling, you will likely not want your search results to show subproducts, either as a separate search result, or as part of the primary product. If your templates use subproducts for similar products with different SKUs, it may be more important to plan for the search to return subproducts.
ShopSite provides for several fields that can be used at the designer's discression. These fields could include additional text, images, links, or special information used in the designs for advanced customization.
The ShopSite Back Office allows merchants to select colors for content and a background image. If you are making a generic template, your design may need to incorporate these settings.
The Override Product Template will control the appearance of products displayed on the Search Results page. How products are presented on a Search Results page depends largely on how the merchant wants customers to use the page.
One option merchants have in the Back Office is to strip HTML out of the product description and cut it off at a certain number of characters. This creates a simplified, shortened description ideal for search results pages.
For more information, see the Product Definition instructions.
The Override Link Template will control the appearance of links to Store Pages in the search results. This template will not affect the appearance of links to More Info pages or non-ShopSite generated pages. Because merchants can select what page is linked to in the search results for each individual product, it may be preferable to have a very simple override template that leaves most of the formatting in the search results template. See the Page Link Definition for more about link template considerations.Next Topic: Shopping Cart Design