I'm designing an experience that will require a text field to "recognize" content and instantly direct users to different paths from the same point (same text field & CTA) based on the text entered. Entered text will be completely free form (i.e. user generated) so this text field needs to use keywords and keyword combos to recognize what information/path the user is looking for.

EX: One text field to submit questions. Some of those questions are complex and need to direct the user to a flow that allows them to ask a person to provide an in-depth answer. Other questions may just be customer service inquiries that could return a customer service number or even send the user through another flow to perform an action related to their account.

  • Not an answer, but is what Steam does similar to what you are mentioning? support.steampowered.com Not sure what I'd call it... maybe a guided search box? Or some sort of first level of tech support?
    – Gray
    Nov 13, 2013 at 18:45
  • The problem I'm trying to solve is we have a product that starts with a large text field and CTA. It's meant for asking questions of professionals, but we get a large percentage of customer service questions coming through this field despite the clear labeling of said text field (people either don't read or ignore instructions)... search boxes mimicking a CS rep (i.e. nanorep) would only solve for the CS questions, but not for the intended purpose of the product. I want the text field to recognize the difference b/t the types of questions & produce experiences based on the content.
    – el_elle
    Nov 13, 2013 at 19:10
  • 1
    If I'm not misunderstanding you, StackExchange actually has the same issue. I'm not so sure it is handled perfectly, but when you go here: ux.stackexchange.com/questions/ask and type the title, it reminds you to ask questions about the site on Meta (with a link). Maybe a little reminder like that would reduce the load enough to be acceptable? People still ask meta questions on SE sites from time to time, but fortunately there is a mechanism to migrate the few who do this.
    – Gray
    Nov 13, 2013 at 19:23
  • 'Google search window' Nov 13, 2013 at 20:13

2 Answers 2


Seems to me, we are talking about Search, specifically 'smart' search. As a result, you should continue to use the qualifier 'smart', but consider calling your text box a search field.

Your description of the functionality reminds me of Google's smart search results. For example, searching the answer to a Mathematics question or currency conversion simply gives you the answer directly. 'Smart' search article: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57489395-93/google-exposes-smart-results-in-search/


Natural language search. You may also call this intelligent search. But your engine should better be pretty smart, otherwise you will get laughed at. People making features like this usually give them a human name, like Eliza. For user service, companies have built their Eva (Free), Clara (Fnac)… Often they are not very successful. — And I am polite. ;-)

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