I have been given a proposal that we are considering for the navigation of a content heavy health based site, it has been suggested:

  • one filter for disease type (type 1 diabetes, MS, prostate cancer)
  • one filter for role (e.g. I have the disease, I'm caring for someone with the disease, i'm worried that I have the disease)

The thinking behind this is that it will only surface content that is relevant to the user.

I am not sure whether this will be intuitive for all users given that few people will start on a landing page and will come through search or sharing and it does not cater for all users needs.

Is there any research on using multiple attribute navigational approach for information seekers on content heavy websites that are not aimed at e-commerce?

Any examples greatly appreciated.

  • Hi brakes. Asking for lists of examples doesn't really work in a Q&A site as there is no correct answer to such questions. Can you rephrase the question so you're just stating the problem and looking for a particular solution to it? Examples may come out supporting different answers, but just listing examples themselves isn't really suited to Q&A sites.
    – JonW
    May 21 '13 at 9:20
  • I don't think that the question is specific enough, even after the edit. Maybe if you describe your problem in more abstract terms you would be able to find a general UX question. Try to ask for a "verdict" or facts, and not for opinions.
    – Dvir Adler
    May 21 '13 at 10:37
  • 1
    Evidence based research would be ideal but as I have not found any I have left it opinion based in the hope that someone would accompany their opinion with research or examples.
    – brakes
    May 21 '13 at 10:46
  • At the moment, you're asking three questions. If you have separate questions, please put them in separate posts. Asking multiple questions per post doesn't work with the site format. (If someone answers one question correctly but another wrongly, there would be no good way to vote on that answer.) May 21 '13 at 15:14
  • Fair point, slim lined down into one.
    – brakes
    May 21 '13 at 21:01

This is called "Guided Navigation" or "Faceted Search" and it's becoming quite mainstream as a way to allow users to filter down a very large set of content.

Google Shopping, for example, uses this approach to narrow down results. Here is an example of how they do this for the search term Laptop.

Amazon does this across all departments, see this example of a broad search term like "Word" and see the facets in the left.

There are increasing examples of this paradigm in the context of shopping and ecommerce, this trend leads me to believe it is considered useful, intuitive, and mainstream as an interaction paradigm.

Edit: You asked about non-ecommerce examples, here are a few:

An experiment allowing faceted search across Nobel Prize winners.

A similar example allowing search across NY Times Articles.

When designing a faceted search, what's most important is to visually reinforce the filter concept across interactions so that users don't mistake the list of filters for a traditional nav bar. Generally this would mean keeping the selections visible, and allowing filters to be reset or removed after some have been selected.

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