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I am working on a search screen which has 50 fields having the following types of controls. Also one more problem is user can choose any one of the search criteria that can still fetch the results.

  1. Text field
  2. List menu
  3. Multiselect list menu
  4. Multiselect list menu with filtering
  5. checkbox/radio button

http://www.flickr.com/photos/58052028@N00/6326443028/in/photostream

Can someone suggest a better approach instead of having all the fields in one view.

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4 Answers 4

up vote 5 down vote accepted

If the search criteria are easily divisible into 'types' of search, e.g. 'Basic Info', 'Technical Data', etc., you may be able to tab them. Any choices the user makes that are going to be hidden once they tab away could accumulate above the tabbed area so that it's clear what they have already chosen.

That way, you can stay in the same page and still take advantage of @andrewthong's suggestion as well.

Also, depending on how the search terms are eventually used (whether they accumulate in a query string or form input field that will later be parsed), you may benefit from having mini forms that reveal themselves when the user lands in some sort of 'smart box' -- this is similar to the email search filter helper in Gmail's 'new look'.

Good luck.

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I'd find which options my users are using most frequently and make those readily available in the main search page.

The rest can be placed in an "Advanced Search" page, where categorizing, and grouping the options will help present it without overwhelming the user. Take hierarchy (if possible) into consideration as well.

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I really believe the Scope Bar in the Finder in OSX has the most elegant solution for the profusion of filters problem. Instead of throwing up all or even a subset of potential search filter options at once, leading to a very cluttered screen, let the user add filters one by one only as they need them. This allows for highly personalized filtering unique to each user's search requirements.

MacOSX Scope Bar

You can read more about using the Scope Bar in the Apple Human Interface Guidelines as well.

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I don't know your use scenario and users but a good solution could be to use Faceted Navigation Controls to reduce your data results. The interaction with this controls is simple and intuitive (e.g. range sliders). The division in Simple and Advanced Search is also useful.

Read more:

http://patterns.endeca.com/content/library/en/home.html

http://patterns.endeca.com/content/library/en/home/topics/faceted_navigation.html

http://www.flickr.com/photos/morville/collections/72157603789246885/

http://www.alistapart.com/articles/design-patterns-faceted-navigation/

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Thanks a lot for the insights, but here in my case i am not sure whether i can use faceted search or not. Because the user can choose any one of the search criteria to fetch the results. See the search screen here flickr.com/photos/58052028@N00/6326443028/in/photostream –  Ravi Nov 8 '11 at 16:57
    
Aren't you already using a faceted search since the different search queries are linked together as AND's not OR's...just guessing. –  JeroenEijkhof Nov 8 '11 at 17:57
    
I am not using faceted search, i have just displayed all the fields in a single view. Working on designing the screen now. –  Ravi Nov 9 '11 at 6:27
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