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Typically on ecommerce or classifieds sites (I work with auto dealers specifically) the search results page (srp) contains the filters and any applied filter state searched. Ex:

typical filter bar

However clicking on one of the results and going into the detail page, we don't show the filter bar. The user then would get back to results by going back (button or browser nav).

This is a pretty ubiquitous ux throughout the web, from Nike to Cars.com to eBay.

A client recently requested to add the filter bar from the SRP to the details pages as they thought it would reduce effort to continue searching. While I knew this wasn't common ux, I was having trouble explaining why I was pushing back.

Instinctually, I know that it's weird to have active filters show on a detail page when the bucket of data being filtered isn't visible. I could see having a text search always available in the nav area, which is more common now. But having some trouble coming up with a concrete reasoning other than -- "no one does that".

I would really appreciate if anyone could give some insight on this common ux standard or point to any known research on this topic (I couldn't find myself when searching the topic).

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    The controls wouldn't effect anything on the page he wants to add them to. It's likely your client is of the mindset of "less clicks are better" but the truth is "meaningful clicks are best." Also, if the user is at a product page, they likely got there from a search. Why include controls when the user can simply go back and resume from there? – invot Jun 7 '18 at 18:35
  • amazon does show the filter bar (just below search bar) amazon.com/Quantum-Spy-Thriller-David-Ignatius-ebook/dp/… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ – Aprillion Sep 28 '18 at 11:18
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A filter applies to the rest of the content on a screen. Seeing that users won't be filtering product details, a filter should not be present on this screen.

In this specific case, the client is trying to achieve less clicks to continue searching. Looking at this reasoning, another solution might be better suited. Instead of navigating to a product details page, the product details (or a preview thereof) could appear on the filter results page. This way, you'll meet the requirements of less clicks, without compromising on UX.

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I support search for MathWorks.com. I suggest you ask your client if there is any quantitative or qualitative research that will help you understand the problem. This will give you insights into the overall search experience and perhaps help you come up with some alternative solutions.

You should also tell your client what you've written here: "no one does that". In all my years of benchmarking search workflows, I've never come across the pattern they are suggesting. This is probably because:

  1. It doesn't make sense to continue displaying the filter when you're no longer on the search results page;
  2. It will confuse the user or make them think there's a problem with the site;
  3. it adds visual noise to the page when all they want to do is see if this is the thing they were looking for; and
  4. During testing, I've seen users scan search results and open new tabs for the results they're most interested in. They then look through their tabs and return to search results page tab if they need to continue searching. Showing filters on the detail page would not help these users.

Good luck!

  • I am not sure about ask your client if there is any research.... wouldn't most clients just reply "isn't that your job? what do I pay YOU for?!?" – Aprillion Sep 28 '18 at 11:11
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I stumbled upon your question, because I had the same question. It's not true that nobody implemented this yet, I actually did at some point, but stepped away from it. Below you see my detail page has a persistent footer:

enter image description here

This footer consists off (from left to right):

  1. Back button (not a JavaScript history -1 button!)
  2. Caption (showing: "12/277 items") showing number of results and position in result list.
  3. Filter button opening filter panel allowing to see/change filter settings.
  4. Forward button, linking to the next item in the result list.

Issues with this pattern:

  1. It's not a common pattern, so there is a learning curve.
  2. Unclear what needs to happen when filtering panel is opened, filters are changed, but the current page is no longer part of the new result set.
  3. Back and forward buttons compete with the browser's back button (more familiar pattern).
  4. The real estate of a fixed bottom bar can be used for more important actions (buy/order/apply,...) on that page.
  5. The real estate of a fixed bottom bar competes with the real estate needed for common patterns like a chat bubble (for customer support) or a cookie/privacy notification notification (GDPR).

Regarding #5, you can see what happens when a cookie notification and chat bubble appear. It quickly becomes a mess:

enter image description here

How this pattern could (have been) improved:

  1. Different UI: a floating panel vs a fixed bottom bar, or a shopping-card style panel).
  2. Clicking the caption "12/277 items" could show the list of results.

What you really are trying to do

At the end, what is happening in the above described bottom bar, is showing a minimal representation of two pieces of content: the previous and next item. Instead of showing it in a minimal way, you could simply show that content at the end of your page. That's how AirBNB does it.

AirBNB example, showing results after filtering (on home page):

enter image description here

AirBNB example, showing items from result set on listing's detail page:

enter image description here

The AirBNB approach is very natural. The user is not being informed of technical items like "a result set" or next/previous paradigms. The user simply sees what's most relevant to the current listing. Also note that the result set (displayed as plain content) has a navigation chevron towards the end, allowing to see more related items.

If you look at other websites like openlistings.com, opentable.com you'll notice they all use the AirBNB paradigm.

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