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I'm brainstorming a way to have a full grid of cars show on a inventory search page. I dislike a full left nav of 100's of options to filter (ie carmax or any other site) and update the results so I went with a search at the top. The problem I am trying to solve is how that tool floats down as you scroll to see the full results and sticks to the top of the browser.

Has anybody seen good examples of sticky headers or alternative ways to filter vehicle inventory?

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Is there any particular reason why you dislike filters on the left? And: Would the "search at the top" be a keyword search? Or filters? – Phil Jun 9 '11 at 22:32
It would contain a keyword search and the bare minimum of filters that could group well together.. ie solve seating with 3 options "couple" "4+ door" "3rd row" – Tony Peterson Jun 21 '11 at 19:02
I don't dislike filters, I just want to minimize the amount and prevent deadends (no results) at the same time. – Tony Peterson Jun 21 '11 at 19:03

You could have a sticky nav up top and than repeat the elements as a list that fade to white as they go under it.

floating nav

Other thoughts to consider:

  • add a return to top

  • be able to filter out things they dont want, but start broad

  • Ability to mix and match filters

  • preset filters (common groupings)

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Thanks Jon, good idea's. I'll post the finished product when its done, so far it came out great and the client loved the idea or a floating search tool on top in place of the typical left orientated filtering. My argument was preventing dead ends for the user by only showing options available in the database which naturally kept the search bar filtering options to minimum and made sense to group them (and leave ones off). – Tony Peterson Jun 21 '11 at 19:09
Thanks for following up Tony! Good to hear. – jonshariat Jun 21 '11 at 21:38

(ie carmax or any other site)

Interestingly, this points to one thing. Convention. As Phil asks, why do you not like the left side filtering? Is it a personal thing, or is the case that you strongly feel it doesn't work and makes the process of finding what you want more difficult?

You don't have to do what everyone else does (er, obviously!), but in certain types of sites - car ones being a good example - a set of conventions has evolved over time that people who browse those types of sites generally get. They might not be the most intuitive nor obvious - nor, indeed, the right way to do it - but they are understood by people.

Don't mean to dampen your creativity at all (your idea sounds pretty good). Just posing the question...

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