What are the differences between Instant Search, Article Suggestion, and Help Center search?

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  • Nguyentv

    Hi Danielle,

    Thank you for the explanation.

    However, I think there is a loophole in the way the search functionalities are designed.

    The Instant search uses partial match while the other 2 don't. That means if I have a search bar with instant search enabled, once the user presses enter, the default behavior is to lead them to the search results page right? However, since instant search enables partial match, user sees results while typing, but when he/she presses enter before completing typing the word, the search results show nothing. This will highly confuse users.

    May I know what the purpose of not enabling partial search is in the first place?

    Thank you.

    Best Regards,


  • Patrick Bosmans
    Zendesk Customer Advocate

    Hello Van,

    Our search features function very similarly to a web browser.  As you type you will see suggested options but will not assume any link until completely typed or selected with arrowing down or clicking desired link.  Because the search does not assume, it allows for the user to see results that might be broader within topic, but that might be outside of their initial knowledge base.  This way they can explore without having to be directed.

    I hope this answers your question.  Let us know if there is anything else we can help you with!

  • Jono Hey


    It's helpful for this article to clear up the different types of search, but I think it would be a significant improvement for the instant search to provide a wider search of labels and article content. Instant search is clearly the best search in our view from a usability point of view and is a big part of us selecting Zendesk's Help Centre. But without searching synonyms for searches, that we add using labels when we see what searches did not yield results, it can mislead that there are no articles available and customers may give up.

    See: Add article tags to Help Center Instant Search


  • Nicole Saunders
    Zendesk Community Team

    Hi Jono - 

    Appreciate the feedback! 

  • Andreas Lärkfeldt

    As Van, Jono and our listeners are saying: It's very confusing that you have 3 different kind of searches. And it becomes even more confusing when you see a list of hits in INSTANT SEARCH, but NONE when hitting enter (No results found). According to all UX designers I've been in contact with one of the most important aspects of UX is this: What you see is what you should get (which clearly isn't the case here).

    When you're (Patrick) telling us that you use search functionality similar to searching in a web browser (I suspect you mean Google?) - are you actually saying that searching with Zendesk INSTANT SEARCH - you sometime will end up with NO RESULTS FOUND? Different from this I actually think that "web browsers" are showing a wider range of results - so I would think that you'll have to rethink what you show when people press "ENTER" in INSTANT SEARCH.

    Eg. Wouldn't it be more neat to receive MORE articles prioritized by relevance instead of NONE? As my former commander often told us: Do it again, and this time do it correctly!

    Just to clearify how bad this actually works right now - please look at attached images.



    I hope you find this useful and that you'll take the time to oversee you existing solution.

  • Nicole Saunders
    Zendesk Community Team

    Hi Andreas - 

    Could you please re-post this in the Product Feedback topic in the Community, so that the Product Managers will see it?

  • Quentin

    It seems that the Instant Search: only works from the home page of our support center (doesn't work when you're viewing another article or from the search result view), is that normal behavior or can that be changed?


  • Laura Hippert
    Zendesk Team Member

    Hi Quentin! - You'll want to ensure that all of your different search fields have the instant parameter set - the default theme will not have this set on the Search Results template page:

  • Carlos

    Hello I think the little search bar is not working properly. I've set the tags and I don't know whay the search doesn't work. Could you please check it? Thank you. Here you have an example.

  • Stephen Fusco
    Zendesk Team Member

    Hello Carlos, 

    I'm going to create a ticket so that we can investigate this for you! You should receive an email from me soon!

  • Karen D Snyder

    This article states that Article Suggestion Search searches through article titles and labels, but I believe that this needs to be updated. When I type Test in the Subject field of a form, 10 articles are displayed as suggestions, and none of them have Test in their title or in a label, however they do contain Test in their content.

  • Nicole Saunders
    Zendesk Community Team

    Thanks for mentioning that, Karen. We're looking into your suggestion now and will update the article appropriately.

  • Pedro Rodrigues

    "Native Help Center Search (...) Searches through titles, labels, and content"

    Just to clarify, its priority is in this order? What weighs more, or how is this weight being distributed?


    • Article A has KEYWORD in its title (exclusively; not present in labels or content),
    • Article B has KEYWORD as a label,
    • Article C has KEYWORD in its description.

    When someone searches "keyword", does it mean the order of these articles in search results is A, B, C?


    EDIT: oops, I think this article answers my questions! https://support.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/211317328

  • Brett Bowser
    Zendesk Community Team

    Hey Pedro,

    It looks like you found the relevant article to answer your question :)

    Let us know if there's anything else we can help with!

  • Paul

    Please allow us to use Article Suggestion search in any search field on the page, or just add labels, and content to the instant search results.

    It is frustrating that the instant search results are limited only to titles, in this way most users do not find what they are looking for and the help center loses all efficiency.


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