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I am working on search functionality for a mobile website. We are using a drop down list of smart auto complete suggestions so that the user won't have to type as much. In this case, a travel app, the suggestions link directly to a destination, hotel, restaurant or attraction instead of a search results page. Which we have found to be a better experience for the user. However in the space between search box and keyboard we can only fit a relatively small number of results.

We are obviously doing our best to prioritize them but we are wondering if anyone would actually scroll the list (behind the keyboard) or if they just keep typing if they don't immediately see the result they are looking for. Is it worth adding results behind the keyboard?

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2 Answers 2

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I don't have research on this, but I'd recommend not trying to get people to scroll. Long lists of auto-complete suggestions are naturally shortened with a few more keyboard taps. It's somewhat expensive to shift modes from typing to scrolling, so if there's any where to spend it would be on making the auto-complete list predictions better.

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You need to provide visual clues to the fact that there's something behind. Since the keyboard is stuck at the bottom of the screen, the scrolling means that the actual input field will be scrolled out of view, so the user will have to scroll back up to see the autocomplete in action. And I suppose that you'll be moving to the next screen the moment they click a result. This solution is very hard to pull off.

Autocomplete is often used by different custom keyboards. See how Swype handles it here (a thin strip above the keyboard) and here (a word selection dialogue window). I think this and other custom keyboards are probably your best references.

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