I have been tasked in making some licenses on a search portal more understandable to our users. These licenses are listed as facets, so that the user can filter out which licenses they are interested in...

The issue is that these licenses are called things like:

Paid Access, CC0, Public Domain, CC-BY-NC-SA, CC-BY-ND

...which unless you are familiar with creative commons, you will not really understand.

I have tried to break it down into two elements, one for the general public, and one for the more advanced users who wish to be very specific with what they are searching for.

I wonder if you could critique this suggested method. I am really interested in the open/close suggestion, and also the label "Personal use". Any thoughts greatly appreciated!

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  • 3
    The licences filter is useful only to people really understanding them. For others can I use it commercially, can I modify, seems better filters.
    – ColdCat
    Sep 24, 2013 at 12:47
  • what is the difference between "freely usable" vs. "public domain" ?
    – kmonsoor
    Oct 10, 2013 at 12:23
  • CC0 is the same thing as public domain.
    – kinokijuf
    Oct 15, 2013 at 20:47
  • Hi @kinokijuf they are different, you can read about CC0 here - wiki.creativecommons.org/CC0_FAQ
    – Dean
    Oct 23, 2013 at 7:56
  • @Dean let me rephrase: CC0 is a form of public domain.
    – kinokijuf
    Oct 23, 2013 at 18:30

2 Answers 2


I think Creative Commons-Attribution-NonCommercial can be understood by a person who isn't familiar with Creative Commons licenses. If you want a wide audience to understand you I would recommend against using the abbreviations for the license names.

I can't really imagine a usecase where someone might want to search for files that allow for limited reuse but that person doesn't have to know whether he can use the files for the purpose that he wants to use them. To do so he needs information about commerical use or attribution requirements.

How about providing 5 checkboxes:

  1. Freely usable
  2. Attribution
  3. Noncommerical
  4. Share Alike
  5. No Derivations

You could add explanations when a user hovers over the terms.


I would change Personal Use to "By Terms of Use" or "By License Terms", because those sub-items don't address Personal use, but more often commercial use.

I like the show advanced, except don't need the "close advanced". Just leave it open and save the clutter.

Also, if you can, put the results on the right side (and right justified, possibly with digit grouping), that would make your results more scannable. Might want to use dark grey for those numbers instead of black, so there is clear separation between selectable options and data. If you do these two changes, then you can also get rid of the parentheses. Just a technicality, but I assume that those specific licenses are part of Limited Use, and therefore the totals should reflect that in your wireframe.

  • IF you remove the "close advanced" then you'll cause a problem for people who click on it to see what's under there, but discover they don't understand any of it. It's better to give them the option to hide it away again.
    – Racheet
    Oct 15, 2013 at 10:29

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