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In the search bar which experience is better? That is having a left nav or navigation below/above the search bar.

a - Swift Type

b - Google

Cons for the top nav: Scalability wise left nav works the best.

I've seen many websites like google.com, bing.com, yahoo.com, algolia, etc. have navigation below the search. In a few other websites like swiftype, atlassian, etc. have the left navigation.

By experience wise which is better and why?

2 Answers 2

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The 1st screenshot shows search facets, the 2nd show filters.

A navigation menu works independently of the search results. It should be clearly separated (typically above the search field).

Filters are usually just above the list of results to narrow down results.

Facets are typically located in a left side-bar, as you can drill down facets through multiple hierarchical levels.

For more information on the difference between the last two, see Filters vs. Facets

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At first, you should make a good benchmark to see what your competitors are doing and what the other website that your user access doing. Try to keep the pattern to avoid the need to teach the users.

Usage:

  • Top filters: Good for few options (like simple searches tool)
  • Left/Right filters: Good for a lot of options (like e-commerces)

Exceptions: Some e-commerces start to use a top filter but as a dropdown not a link like on your examples because this makes the page looks cleaner and reduce the pagination.

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