Big ‘look at me’ messages don’t work if they are not under the relevant heading

I’ve been looking at the job sites of various companies. I searched for ‘UX’ on the Royal Mail site, and got the following result.

Royal Mail job search results

I looked at the list of results, and, as has happened on other sites, found myself wondering what these results had to do with ‘UX’. I then noticed the big message above the results, saying there was nothing to match my search criteria. I’ve seen this in user testing.

The user is focused on their task. My task is to look at search results, not to look at headings or other stuff on a page. If you really want to stand the best chance of getting someone to notice content that is not on their main path, use red.

Whether it’s a list of results for flights, shoes, mp3 players, or dead Roman emperors, the natural tendency is, not surprisingly, to look at the results. Use red, or position the content beneath the results heading if you want people to notice other content.