User Experience Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for user experience researchers and experts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Our search UI allows users to search across multiple categories: Day, Type, Area, etc. Each selected criteria is ANDed. We also allow a free-text search option, however we expect this to be a rarer use case compared to just selecting 1 or 2 categories (e.g. Dinner on Wednesday).

Initially in the mock-ups we had the free text searchbox as the last element before the search button, to highlight this fact - but it looked visually weird once built in the iOS style - probably because searchboxes usually appear at the top of most iOS table views.

Instead we moved it to the top, and added a placeholder that explicitly says "optional" but I really don't like having to state that - I love a self explanatory UX/UI.

How can optional free text search be represented in a UI like this without resorting to explicit labels/placeholders?

Search UI

Designer Disclaimer: The nav bar purple is gross I know, still need to fix it since the iOS 7.0.3 update changed the new iOS7 blurred translucency effect.

share|improve this question

I propose some improvements to the current UI:

  • Make the input field more affordable. Now it looks like a kind of header.
  • Replace placeholder with default option which is rather neutral and appropriate (wishable) for most users. So, everybody likes tasty food, no matter whether it's a seefood or pizza. Actually, it's a placeholder, too. So you need no to search for "Tasty natural dishes" if user leaved it.

enter image description here

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.