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Currently I am working on a search engine for restaurants, where you can search by food, restaurant, location, time or a combination of any two, three or all of those parameters.

The dilema I am in is whether I should place a single search box like zomato does or should I go for multiple input boxes asking for each parameter?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Why would you even think about multiple fields? I can think of only one reason: it'll be easier for you! If you care about the user, don't make this mistake. Everyone, without exception, would hate it. Single field is the way to go.

Besides, it's easy to detect if the user input is name of a place or time or food. Encourage them to use facebook graph search like input method. It's implementation would be easier than it looks (anything that follows "in" is a place etc etc).

You can consider giving separate pre filled input fields after the first query in case user wants to change something.

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I would suggest use a single search field and show suggestions nested in groups like in the image below:

enter image description here

It returns the search results on the fly for the keyword in 3 categories: Market Indices, Scrip, and Macro-economic indicators. And, the first entry acts like a button to look for News articles with that keyword.

Pros:

  • Saves up precious real-estate on screen and avoids unnecessary controls & labels

Cons:

  • Not a feasible option, if you have more categories to display. This will make the list too long and render it unusable on smaller screens.
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First user checks the restaurant is existed or not in this website. If it is available he will think about more options like filters.

These kind of search is not only useful for whose want to search by the time, location, combinations,.. different kind of user will come with their different requirements.

In case, if you have provided filters such as location, time, combinations,... fields in main search, the process may take time to get results. User may not be wait. We need to consider low bandwidth also.

Related Example: We can see the mobile, travels,.. search as a example. Some are provides filters in left panel of searched results.

So think yourself which is fit for your requirements.

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You can also provide categories(restaurant, cuisine, location) along with search fields like linkedin.

Search engine must provide ajax based suggestions to help users. Once records are fetched, there must be filter/advance search to concise the results.

You should check on http://ui-patterns.com/patterns and http://patterntap.com/?terms=search&sort_by=score&type=73&style=All&platform=All or check the similar domain application.

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