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I have a client that from a business requirement requests to have 'advance search' as the default search item. The reason being they want to get as much information from the end user as possible. In some ways the advance search actually acts as a questionnaire. I haven't seen this approach being taken anywhere on the web. Has anyone out there come across this procedure before? There is a discussion going forward with the client advising a questionnaire form would be best suited to meet their needs -however they are very keen for the 'advance search' to have this functionality.

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Can you be a bit more clear about what your question is? Do you want to know if 'advanced search' should be the default selection or something else? –  rk. Jun 19 '13 at 3:09
    
Can you tell us what sort of site this is for? If it's a second-hand car selling website then an advanced search is more likely to be useful, but if it's a brochureware site for a single-product company then it's less likely to be useful. We can't make suitable suggestions without knowing the context this will be used in. –  JonW Jun 19 '13 at 9:36
    
Sorry this came off my radar as I've been fighting fires. To the question - it's for an Australian financial company, who are attempting to gather as much information from the end user as possible in order to service the business. As I've indicated, some of the items in the 'advance search' actually act as 'questions'. –  Tommisauce Jun 21 '13 at 5:03
    
From a marketing point of view the user should not be bothered by questions for the first contact. This drops the conversion rate. Getting back to the customer with these questions can have the opposite effect. –  zoidbergi Sep 26 at 11:35

4 Answers 4

People prefer simple search (single-line search is common pattern) but don't refuse advansed search like tiket booking etc. In last case users see a great value of advanced search.

Steve Krug's famous phrase "Don't make me think" concerning to web forms could be modified as "Don't make me write".

We don't know your context, but it looks like business goals collide users. Who wins?

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It would be nice if both options will be available. If user wants to, he answers some questions, but if not, then it works just like simple search. It would be the compromise. If it is a multiple choice questionnaire, you can do it as a refine search filter with checkboxes.

Probably, you should try to explain your client, that questionnaire may become a roadblock and people will not use the search at all if it so complicated, so the client won't be able to gather any information.

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I've not seen this approach before. Getting search analytics can be very useful, but I would consider that 'Advanced' is a loaded term: most people would hesitate to describe themselves as 'advanced' users, for instance.

I don't know the context you're operating in (web, application), but I would look to make search as accessible as possible from the main system, and consider using filters, which would provide similar functionality to the questionnaire. Alternatively, use show/hide to allow the user to see all search options without needing to visit another page.

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I have implemented a similar search form and the approach is to drive the search by 'keywords' which will be the default field and optionally add more filters. If your search engine supports faceted search your search query would be q=keywords&fq1=filter1&fq2=filter2 etc., There is no 'Advanced' search here but simple search with options to filter or narrow down the results as you please.

Here is the pen - http://codepen.io/balajinatarajan/pen/ezyal

enter image description here

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