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I am working on a business directory site where a user can search for either a deal, company or event in a city. What alternatives are there for retrieving relevant results for a user in terms of UX? The results are listed on a results page as either cards or list items.

Current alternatives I have thought of:

  1. Use a separate page for each results. A deals page if one wants to retrieve deals. A companies page for company results. An event page for event results. However, I want people to know that there is a store that sell sneakers if they wouldn’t find a deal for sneakers.

  2. Retrieve the results and split into different tabs. The tabs would be Deals, Companies and Events. They would still use facet search. However, it’s not sure if the Deals, Companies and Events have the same categories based on the results, because only existing categories get shown in the list when facet searching.

  3. Retrieve all results in one page using one query. Filter by faceting. If I want to see companies, I select from a sidebar ”Companies”. I think facet searching for other parameters would work here, since we could show categories from all three results combined, which is not the same as option 2.

I prefer option 3, but don’t think it’s a good idea to blend all items into one result page as the user might not be able to see the difference between items.

Would you use any of these alternatives or what approach would you have used?

Thanks in advance!

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  • Are there any technical, business or user requirements/constraints that could help you narrow down or refine the options? What is your reason for your preference of option 3? – Michael Lai Jun 14 '20 at 23:01
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    Currently, I am only narrowing down by companies, deals and events. Perhaps I can re-structure the data to be presented in a better way visually. My reason for preferring option 3 is because I easier can grasp what listings that exist in a city. In that way I don't have to worry about filters not matching when switching tabs, since I can only refine depending on what exists. Not sure if it is a good solution however. – Vimona Jun 15 '20 at 20:26
  • Since this question was asked some time ago without an answer, what did you end up going with (hopefully it was also user-tested) and how well did it work out? – Michael Lai Apr 23 at 0:01
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The design of a search result page can be just as complex as the search feature itself, and in fact should always be considered as part of the search workflow/process.

Without really knowing the relationship between the different entities or their underlying data model/structure, the best thing is to defer to known best practices. The most well-known search result page is of course the Google SERP and there are articles talking about the anatomy and complexity of these page designs that we can reference when thinking about how to optimize the design.

This would involve looking at factors such as:

  • Amount of content that would be displayed at the top level for each option
  • Ability to highlight or prioritize the order for each option
  • Ability to cross-reference or jump to adjacent or nested information for each option
  • How to deal with results that don't reflect what the user searched for

And potentially many others as well, but at least if you start narrowing down the possibilities and put some more constraints around the design concept you should get closer to what you are looking for.

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