To let users search by number or date, I want to provide two inputs. If you have two inputs, its a range search. If you have one input, it's a "greater than or equals" or "less than or equals". Will users understand they may leave one input blank? If not, how to make it discoverable?

values: 1 ,2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

inputs: -- 5
meaning: "not greater than 5" 
result: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

5 --
"not less than 5" 
5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

3 6
"not less than 3, not greater than 6"
3, 4, 5, 6
  • I think in this case the design of the interface will really determine if it might be clear or not. Another comment is that the - (or even --) symbol could be associated with negative value or negative counter.
    – Alvaro
    Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 8:13

3 Answers 3


Symbols for not greater than and not less than are usually like this

  • <= 5 - not greater than 5
  • >= 3 - not smaller than 3
  • 3 .. 5 - between 3 and 5

If you want to make clear that empty field means no max/min, you can:

  • gray it out and/or
  • add placeholder e.g. "Any"


download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

Or use min value/max value instead of "Any" if they are known to you.

  • I like the use of "Any". It's applicable for both min and max and both number and date. I didn't think of that. Oh, and since the question states that the search value can be both a number AND a date, you can't know the min/max values (referring to your last statement). Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 12:04

I personally think you might be right and users might not understand that leaving an input blank means there is not minimum or maximum.

You could solve this by adding a placeholder.
Leave blank for no minimum
Leave blank for no maximum
The problem with placeholders is that users might forget about the hint as soon as the placeholder disappears.

A label might be a better solution.
Leave blank for no minimum or maximum

When the max number (and min) is known to you, you could also think about a range slider.
enter image description here
This example shows a range slider on a webshop. The cheapest product in the category is 12 euros. The most expensive is 850 euros.
This however, might not really work for dates.

A final, possible solution is something I've seen on a website listing houses for sale. It has maximum price ranges at different increments listed in a select box with the final option "No maximum". This works if you have a small range of numbers, but since your input can contain both numbers and dates, this might not work for you. This is a solution, slightly based on the concept:


download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

I hope this gives you some inspiration. There is no one, best solution I'm afraid.


If the value are fixed (1-10) I would suggest to use a number picker similar to date range pickers. See an example below:

enter image description here

Users should be able select a range by selecting a start and end number. Also, it would be nice to allow them to select not only range but any value even without range (see the 3rd example).

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