The options are:

A) to keep the search field minimalist and expect users to browse through a fairly high number of results.

B) to add "advanced search" features that are going to make the query construction fairly complex, but that will limit the quantity of results.

Here are the hypothesis that we have for the moment (this is an ongoing research, we still haven't talked with real users):

  1. The application is likely to show the most pertinent results first, so the fact that a search query returns a huge amount of results doesn't seem to be a problem because the user is likely to find what he is looking for within the first results.

  2. In theory, police investigators tend to perform informational searches, where they begin with some known information (first name, family name and date of birth) and expect to find what they are looking for within one or several results (call cards, events, infractions, detentions, etc)


From a UX research point of view, doesn't it seem easier just to write the query in a search field (Google style) than to expect the user to build a detailed query using a fairly complex syntax to limit the number of results?

If the most relevant results are going to show up first anyway, isn't the effort to browse the results significantly less than the one to build the complex query?

Does anyone know any reading material, research data or anything to help me confront that theory and better answer my question?

2 Answers 2


If a "minimalist" search will often return with the correct result near the top of the list, then stick to that. However, don't forget about how that might weigh down your server. Consider only returning the first 5-25 results and paging the rest.

If your users are asking for better ways to search, why not give it to them? Find simple ways to empower your queries. Use @ for names and # for case numbers or something of the sort. Simple ways to focus in on what kind of data the user is looking for.


Why not use a minimalist search, but then introduce filters or an advanced option on the results page?

Be sure to include how many results were returned and give the user the option to sift through the data or to narrow down what they are looking for.

Here are a couple interesting reads: https://designexcellent.com/ux-search-design-organising-filtering/ https://uxplanet.org/mobile-ux-design-user-friendly-search-51e5f78f5a1e

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