In Part I of Design Patterns for Mobile Faceted Search, I looked at Four Corners, Modal Overlay, Watermark, and Full-Page Refinement Options design patterns, which maximize the mobile screen real estate. This column covers strategies for making people aware of the filtering options and methods of improving transitions between the various states of a search user interface.
In my previous Search Matters column, Designing Mobile Search: Turning Limitations into Opportunity, I discussed how mobile search user experiences differ from those on the Web. In this and my next column, I’ll look specifically at the challenges and opportunities of mobile faceted search. This column covers design patterns for maximizing the real estate available for search results, while the next will cover strategies for making people aware of filtering options.
Thinking of porting your Web finding experience to iPhone, Android, or Windows Mobile? Just forget about the fact that these devices are basically full-featured computers with tiny screens. Designing a great mobile search experience requires thinking differently: In terms of turning limitations into opportunities.
Filters with numeric values remain among the most confusing in faceted search, because many sites have not been able to design usable numeric filters that people can use in an intuitive manner. In this column I cover how to show discrete numeric values, avoid overly constrained filter states, and display key inventory information, and introduce a novel pattern of histogram sliders.
The idea behind the More Like This pattern is very simple: within each group of items representing a particular category from a catalog or accompanying each item in search results, provide a prominent link or button with a label that is some variation of More Like This ». Unfortunately, most sites do not make sufficient use of this pattern and some that do use it design and implement it incorrectly.
Our language is limited and imperfect. When a customer constructs a query that may have more than one meaning, a good search user interface provides tools to help the customer define the query in less ambiguous terms, so the search results more closely match the person’s intention. This process is known as disambiguation.
In Part 2 of Ads Best Practices, we’ll discuss: understanding what makes a good ad, limiting cannibalization, providing ads for internal merchandise instead of third-party advertising, and ads on pages that appear if there are no search results.
Conflicting demands make many UX professionals think of ads as a necessary evil. Customers frequently go out of their way to say they hate ads, while marketers always seem to try their hardest to stuff as many of them as they can on each search results page on your site. In this column, I’ve teamed up with advertisement and eyetracking research guru Frank Guo to present real-world strategies for successfully integrating ads into your search results.
Office Depot multiple-select attribute-based faceted search redesign misses some key points, making their new search user interface less usable and, therefore, less effective. This makes it an excellent case study for demonstrating best practices for designing filters for faceted search results.
Today, everywhere we look, it seems like image content is taking over the Web. The ubiquitous use of digital cameras and improvements in the picture quality of mobile phone cameras has likely helped this phenomenon along. The shift toward content that is primarily visual introduces new challenges and opportunities for developing intuitive and powerful user interfaces for browsing, searching, and filtering visual content.