I'm struggling a bit with finding information on how and when to offer the possibility to use wildcards/search operators like '?' and '*' in a search.

I'm looking for best practices and guidelines from a UX perspective.

I'd be glad if someone could help me with this.

  • It's going to depend who your 'users' are. Are they young or old / techy or non techy ?
    – PhillipW
    Aug 27, 2017 at 19:43

1 Answer 1


We implement this by simply stating "Enter your search terms" or something similar. All searches are 'wild' by default, returning partially matched items on the left or right.

To get around this we provide the user with a simple check box which is labelled "Exact matches only" and a little help button explaining how that affects the way a user searches.

In this way, we believe it provides a more positive search experience, and the user isn't overloaded with binary choices.

Exact search option

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