[Edit]:This question is asked to handle a specific design issue. Although it is mainly related to the post I am sharing below, it is not meant to generally differentiate between Filtering and Searching but to use the concept in practice. The answer below by @KK although good, it assumes a fact that when no data is displayed then the user is searching, when data is displayed then user is filtering. If that is a fact to draw conclusion upon, then the answer to my question = Filtering. [End of Edit]
In a web-based application, a page displays information in a table format (random data displayed in the table). The table could have hundreds of records. Two ways are provided to filter/limit/refine/search the results in the table:
(1)- A single select drop-down list (Filter by Type) with the Types available (there are less than 10 types in the system). When the user selects a Type from the list, results will only be the records with the Type the user selected. So I know I am filtering here (I am providing the filter which in this case = Type). For example: If I select "Accounting" from the list, only records with the Type = Accounting will be displayed.
(2)- A text-box where the user is advised to enter either a Director name or a Year, and results are displayed based on the user's entry (see example below). If user enters "41" only, then the results will be every record that contains the number "41" under Director or Year columns. This text-box will only look at values under the Director and Year columns.
The irony is that I answered a question (Filtering vs Searching) thinking I have good enough knowledge in regard. However, I am still confused about it in this specific design.
So am I Filtering or Searching in the Text-box? Should the Placeholder (or if replaced by a Label) say "Filter by..." or "Search by..."?