Starting from zero: winning strategies for no search results pages
Greg Nudelman discusses designing search results pages when there are zero results. To quote:
The typical product team has no coherent strategy for cases when there are no search results. Most teams spend the bulk of their design phase working on the search results pages for a successful search. Then, at the last minute, the engineers hurriedly slap something together for the no search results page and launch. Such an approach is detrimental to the success of a search experience. Search, more than any other activity on your Web site, is a living, evolving process of discovery, a conversation between a customer and your system. Unfortunately, misunderstandings in this conversation are all too common, and the effectiveness of the page that appears when there are no search results is critical to keeping the customer engaged.