We are doing some UI related changes to allow the user to easily save the search filters. So they can use them later.

  • User can create new filter
  • Select any filter and apply search
  • Edit the name of existing filter
  • Delete the filter

As of now we use modal box for editing and creating the filter, when user clicks on Add/Edit.

But the user feels its hard for them. So we are trying to change the UX.

Below is current UI design.

enter image description here

Can someone provide how it could be simplified. I am not a UX expert.

  • Did you witness the user struggling or did you listen to them saying it feels difficult?
    – SteveD
    Commented Apr 26, 2017 at 8:41
  • Is this the primary search feature or is this part of an Advanced Search page?
    – SteveD
    Commented Apr 26, 2017 at 8:57
  • @SteveD its a primary search. User wants a different and simplified UX Commented Apr 26, 2017 at 9:12
  • What did the users do? Did you see them have trouble? If their feedback came from surveys or interviews, you might want to do some direct observations. "Different" and "simplified" aren't terribly helpful requests, as you're realizing. Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 12:50

2 Answers 2


I design enterprise software and this problem has come up many times.

Firstly if your users want a different and simplified UX, you don't need to provide those features in your Primary Search.

For Primary Search keep it simple - one simple search box is all you need (think Google).

For all those other features you mentioned, create an Advanced Search link and place it on your Primary Search page. When users click this Advanced Search link you can take them to a new page which has all those more complex Boolean search and Save features.

You can now monitor how many people click the Advanced Search link. You might find that not many people will use the Advanced Search, so you can make the Advanced Search page as complicated as you like.

Because you are not an UX Expert, don't take my word of this. Jakob Nielsen is a very respected expert in the field of UX and he said this about Advanced Search in 1997: https://www.nngroup.com/articles/search-and-you-may-find/

(the emphasis is mine)

Boolean search should be avoided since all experience shows that users cannot use it correctly. We have studied many groups of users who have been given tasks like this: You have the following pets:

  • cats
  • dogs

Find information about your pets.

Almost all users will enter the query cats AND dogs. In our studies, they typically do not find anything, since the site never mentions both animals on the same page. Upon encountering a "no hits found"message, the vast majority of users concludes that there is no information available about these pets.

Experienced programmers normally use the same erroneous query, but when they get the null result, they typically say "oh, yes, I should have used an OR instead of the AND."

Unfortunately, most users have not been taught debugging, so they are very poor at query reformulation. This is why I recommend minimal use of scoped search and no use of Boolean search in the primary search interface.

Advanced search is fine if offered on a different page than the simple search. The advanced search page can provide a variety of fancy options, including Booleans, scopes, and various parametric searches (e.g., only find pages added or changed after a certain date).

It is important to use an intimidating name like "advanced search" to scare off novice users from getting into the page and hurting themselves.

Search is one of the few cases where I do recommend shaping the user's behaviour by intimidation.

Jakob has validated this many times since 1997.

Peter Morville is a very respected expert on search and findability, and has identified many search patterns. I highly recommend you read Search Patterns: Design for Discovery by Peter Morville & Jeffery Callender. They say this about Advanced Search:

A relative concept, advanced search includes whatever simple search doesn't. It's a pattern that many of us love to hate. often, advanced search is a clumsy add-on that's rarely used, and it lets engineers and designers take the easy way out.

Is it a user-friendly query builder for novices or a power tool for experts?

This pattern also suffers from an ignorance of context.

In conclusion, advanced search is a pattern on the edge. In practice, it's often abused and rarely used. Yet, like federated search, it invites us to go further in our search for ideas, and serves as a forgiving playground for experiments and exploration.

  • 2
    Wow, "use an intimidating name" is the first time I've seen designers being adviced to scare off a group of users, but it seems justified
    – Big_Chair
    Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 10:53

you can simplify that like this into a single unit which is easily understandable and usable compared to the existing model.

  1. with add as the first element in the drop down
  2. And edit option only visible after hovering the particular item in the drop down.

enter image description here

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