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We're designing a search for a machine learning model, where users are shown a table of clusters with details. In this, users have a search for all the fields within the cluster. However, we want to include a search for users to search for clusters based on their members - so if a user wants to see if a certain member is a part of how many/which clusters.

Currently, I've positioned the two searches separately. The cluster search in the table, and the members within the cluster search next to advanced filters. Having multiple searches looks odd though, any advice?

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  • Please share visual mocks to give context for your efforts. The more context, the more useful the answers will be to yourself and future users.
    – Mike M
    Oct 17, 2019 at 19:39
  • Hm, unfortunately I can't share mockups but let me do up a quick sketch to share it for context. Thank you.
    – user131179
    Oct 17, 2019 at 19:49
  • Just added the sketch, hopefully it's useful.
    – user131179
    Oct 17, 2019 at 19:55
  • Not quite 2 searches, but close: Thunderbird has a search box immediately above a filter box.
    – Chris H
    Oct 18, 2019 at 7:33

3 Answers 3

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Re: "...users have a search for all the fields within the cluster." Are you sure your users are searching and not filtering results? Perhaps a filter would make more sense instead of a second search.

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  • So to clarify, there are filters for the cluster. However, users want to be able to essentially type the id of a member and see all the clusters they're present in. The only way I can think of doing that is via search. What do you think?
    – user131179
    Oct 18, 2019 at 0:14
  • If I understand you correctly, if I were to search for a user, would the screen update and I'd see different results? Would I see the user(s) listed towards the top somewhere to show I'm viewing a search result?
    – Koumtti
    Oct 18, 2019 at 0:37
  • Yes, exactly! The screen would update to results of the relevant clusters.
    – user131179
    Oct 18, 2019 at 1:16
  • What would the screen look like when a search result is presented for a specific user? Could you provide another sketch?
    – Koumtti
    Oct 18, 2019 at 2:46
  • The search result would look exactly the same to someone searching for a cluster. It'll just filter clusters which include that member. So the visual is the same. If that's not clear, I can provide a sketch. Thanks!
    – user131179
    Oct 18, 2019 at 16:27
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You can't have two 'search' fields affecting the table, that would be very confusing for the user. The search field right above the table should allow you to filter by any field, or the most important at least. Anything else would be 'custom', and should be handled differently. A small dialog could be a good way. One that lets you select column/field and then input the value. This should then be shown above the table, with an option to remove it (and reset the results).

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Looks like you have "Search," "Advanced Search," and what we'll call "Cluster Member Search." Seems like a lot of search options for essentially one data table. You can simplify the UX by one of two ways:

  1. Add "Cluster Member Search" to "Advanced Search" as a line item. This makes sense because ostensibly you're still searching within the primary data set. But this option will reduce UI clutter around what will probably already be a busy interface.

  2. Change the "Cluster Member Search" to a set of filters, and include "Filter by member" with a text field as an option. This way you get essentially the same functionality without the confusion of having multiple search bars.

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