In the desktop application I am developing, we have ListViews representing items in repositories, and for each one we have a TextBox at the top which works as a search box that filters elements in realtime.

I want to know if this is a well-known pattern having a specific name, so that I can research for best UX practices for that.

Note: this is not quite an "Autocomplete" Search Box, that suggests items as a drop-down list as you type. The intention here is to filter an existing list, with previously visible elements, as you type.

  • This is not unheard of, although I'm struggling to think of examples, I have seen this elsewhere. It's hard to say whether it's good practice without knowing your information architecture. Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 17:12

3 Answers 3


Smashing Magazine terms these 'Dynamic Search' or 'Dynamic Filtering'. While excellent terms, I'd argue they are still not quite the convention (so it may not help much as a research lead). Yet, I believe that upon hearing "a list that can be dynamically searched", most UXers will infer exactly what your'e after.

It is perhaps worth noting that technically a data set can be filtered in many ways (active, new, from Amazon sellers only), so if you want to be ultra specific you may use "dynamic search query filter", possibly dropping either 'search' or 'query'.

(Edited by OP) In the context of the question, the most appliable pattern of the linked article is "Dynamic Search", described as:

Entering text in the search field will dynamically (onkeypress) filter the data on the screen.

The dynamic search pattern is used to refine or whittle down a existing and visible list of objects.

In the [examples, the displayed result items] were already displayed on the page.

Works well for refining constrained data sets, like an address book or personal media library

  • 1
    A filter typically iterates on each item of an existing data set, keeping items that match a predicate. Search suggests a more complex algorithm on a large data set; such algorithm typically uses indexes and optimisations like binary search. Efficient search depends on data representation and additional operations during write. Filtering, on the other hand, is a rather straight forward iteration performed at query time (reads).
    – Izhaki
    Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 14:03
  • I accepted the answer after having mistakenly accepting the other. Thanks a lot! Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 12:06
  • Also, my first comment is also misplaced - it should be in the other answer... Corrected it. Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 12:08

The two words most associated with this are in your title- "filter" and "list". I've seen "List Filter" or "Filtered List" or "Filter List by Searching" in addition to the more "Auto Complete" or "Auto Suggest" type wording.

Here's an example of a JS lib that offers "filtering" on lists: http://listjs.com/overview/

I also implemented this in a desktop app (a medical records system) that filters the list of treatments (medicines) based on what the user types: MRS screenshot

Do you have specific implementation or usability questions pertaining to this kind of widget?


If I understand correctly this would probably either be "Auto Suggest" or "Instant Results" as described in this article "Designing Search: As-You-Type Suggestions"

  • That's a very handy reference despite the fact that it doesn't cover the exact use case here
    – J. Dimeo
    Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 19:57
  • @J.Dimeo actually it does (see my edit in the answer). As to how to name the component, I believe "DynamicSearch" is acceptable, or in the context of WPF which is my target platform, perhaps "DynamicSearchableListView" or something like that. Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 13:46
  • @heltonbiker not trying to be difficult, I'm honestly confused. I don't see the word "dynamic" or any of the text you quoted in the linked article.
    – J. Dimeo
    Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 18:34
  • Oh! it's from @Izhaki's answer. Perhaps you edited and accepted the wrong one?
    – J. Dimeo
    Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 18:35
  • 1
    Right, folks, I corrected the mistake, thanks a lot for the honesty! ;o) Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 12:06

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