We run a financial site where visitors will be inserting multiple company codes in order in order to compare prices. Should we expect visitors to type.

  • aaa, bbb, ccc (comma separated)

  • aaa bbb ccc (space separated)

My hunch is to go with the later as it requires less input (often the comma character is hard to find on a mobile keyboard) but are there any standards here?

  • Related: ux.stackexchange.com/questions/23456/… – Danny Varod Aug 28 '12 at 0:55
  • @Danny I don't see a relation between the two questions. The question is mine by the way. – rlsaj Aug 28 '12 at 4:44
  • I think that the search field standard and the search URL standard are related (since they are different representations of the same thing). – Danny Varod Aug 28 '12 at 9:20
  • Is there a finite list of these company codes? – vzwick Aug 28 '12 at 9:43
  • @vzwick This list grows at about 100 per year. – rlsaj Aug 29 '12 at 5:37

Accept multiple variations - delimit at space, comma, comma-space, etc. Keep it simple for the user and absorb the complexity when you process the input.

  • And it is also recommended to parse the data in the way, that when keywords are delimited by space — search by single keyword, and when keywords are delimited by comma — at first search by expressions, and only the next by keywords (if the search engine allows to tune the relevance of SERP). – Alex Ovtcharenko Aug 28 '12 at 5:34
  • @AlexOvtcharenko What if the search term includes both spaces and commas!? That is why the standard uses quotes (") to mark a multi word search term. – Danny Varod Aug 28 '12 at 9:19
  • @Danny, such sample query in the field: london, tower bridge -- should search both "London" and "Tower bridge", and it is more obvious for users and primary. If no results found, the system could search both "london", "tower" and "bridge" (or show this results below). – Alex Ovtcharenko Aug 28 '12 at 10:12
  • The question indicates the input will be company codes which do not include spaces – Luke Charde Aug 28 '12 at 10:39
  • @AlexOvtcharenko The standard is london "tower bridge". I am not arguing over which is better, but over which standard. – Danny Varod Aug 28 '12 at 11:39

I disagree. Spaces are more common for search functions but for lists of data commas are more common, like if you're sending emails to a number of people, and means you can have a space in a company code if you need to. It's also a more common data delimiter if someone is exporting a list out of excel.

  • Chris whilst I agree that it is common to use a comma for when sending emails and excel, those behaviours differ from typical mobile usage. – rlsaj Aug 28 '12 at 4:46
  • Some mail apps use semicolons and some use commas - I wish there was a single standard there. – Danny Varod Aug 28 '12 at 9:17

Spaces - stick to the standard users are used to and that are supported by loads of search tools.

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