I'm doing a research on web search usability and interface design for search. I already have a website to exemplify, which is a sort of search engine for cars.

The search form is important in the website, and it's a very popular type of navigation for any automobile site. I want to find relevant theory to this type of search, where you don't specify free text, but rather you choose the different categories (make, model, year, km, engine size, body type, etc..).

What is this type of search called and where can I find more academic papers / articles to reference?

I found a really good online book on search UI, but unfortunately I couldn't find any relevant parts about my type of search: Search User Interfaces Book

Other names that came close to what I'm looking, but still no relevant theory are:

  • faceted search - this one is more oriented to narrowing down the results after doing the text search
  • scoped search - combines free text and scope to limit to a specific subset of the database
  • It sounds like you're describing a search filter. Basically a set of options that limit the search results (either before or after the search).
    – JohnGB
    Commented Nov 17, 2011 at 11:12
  • Perhaps you could mention/link the web site that you are exemplifying so that we can take a look... Commented Nov 17, 2011 at 14:05
  • @RogerAttrill the site is AutoUncle
    – Cristian
    Commented Nov 18, 2011 at 20:35

1 Answer 1


I think the term is faceted navigation. Take a look at : http://www.welie.com/patterns/showPattern.php?patternID=faceted-navigation.

For articles to reference, I think ACM Digital library is a place to start.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.