In my search engine, on search results page terms for different criteria can be highlighted. For instance, in text, in dates or in emails.

However, some of those items (text, dates, emails) can be too long of a list and so we truncate under ellipsis button. This ellipsis button can be clicked to open the modal and see the full text and highlighted terms.

The issue during the last demo was that the users wanted some indication that there were more highlighted terms in that modal/on that ellipsis button.

mock1: search results page with highlighted terms, blue ellipsis button and red hand clicking on the button to expand that result.

mock2: modal with expanded text result and more highlighted items in that text.

Should I indicate that there are more highlighted items on the blue ellipsis itself? In which case, how? Perhaps highlight it itself? or add a label?..

Any suggestions/opinions highly appreciated.

  • Can you clarify what you mean by "users wanted some indication that there were more highlighted terms"? Were they in need of this because of some use case for which they wanted to see the matches in context? Or did they just need a rough idea of the number of matches to better compare results against one another? Could navigating to the full document not have answered their use case? I have some ideas for an answer but a better understanding of the actual use case is important here.
    – qoba
    Commented Jul 4, 2018 at 7:12
  • @qoba this requirement has come from product management and sadly that was all the information we had. I would say the first case would probably be the most likely scenario.And yes, going to full view in modal can certainly answer that.. But we have been asked to indicate more highlighting on ellipsis or elsewhere. thank you
    – aly.i.ux
    Commented Jul 5, 2018 at 15:50
  • hm ok well anything more you could say about the actual use case would be useful... Also will there always be an ellipsis even if there are no further matches? Or is the ellipsis only present when there are more matches than can be displayed in the snippet?
    – qoba
    Commented Jul 5, 2018 at 16:16
  • @qoba, thanks for replies! Yes there will be, all of our result sets are huge, there is pretty much a 0% chance of having no ellipsis. Ellipsis is present to indicate truncated content that's clickable to open the modal to see the full text. Hope this makes a bit more sense?
    – aly.i.ux
    Commented Jul 5, 2018 at 19:17

1 Answer 1


First let me change the terms a bit by calling "matches" the highlighted terms (as in, they're matches to the query).

It's hard to give good advice without knowing more about the use case so here are a couple ways to indicate that there are more matches in the overflow.

  • Highlight the ellipsis with the same color as other matches. I wouldn't recommend this as color is something that many people have to strain to see, especially for small patches of yellow against a white background.

  • After the elipsis, add (5 more matches)

  • Replace the ellipsis by a colored pill that starts with the three dots but has also a number indicating the number of matches in it (... 86 more matches), and make the whole pill clickable.

  • Instead of the ellipsis being the click target to expand the snippet, have a line below the ellipsized snippet saying "Showing 3 out of 8 matches. Show all"


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