Currently I am thinking in a mac application that displays data.

For the sake of the question, let's think of that data as songs from that country.

Songs are different from country to country and I am displaying songs from one country at the time. The user sees in the interface what is the currently country being displayed.

I have a search bar to filter those songs but now I want to be able to have a global search as well.

How can I combine this two kind of searches in one simple screen?

  • Possible in a technical sense or in a usability sense? I can't really identify what the question is here. Could you elaborate? Nov 27, 2013 at 11:01
  • In the usability sense. I will try to improve the question :)
    – Tiago
    Nov 27, 2013 at 11:09

2 Answers 2


You can design just one search bar that caters for both, exactly like Google Maps does.

  1. The critical key component is to have auto-suggestions immediately pop up as you type which makes it easier for the user to find what he/she is looking for.
  2. The other important part is to make sure the data groups are presented consistently for example in the attached: City, Region, Country.
  3. Lastly, you should highlight the term they are typing to make it easy for the user to spot in the list of suggestions.

In the example attached via searching for "New York" on Google Maps I have the ability to quickly get to either data group I am looking for.

Based on your example of thinking about your data as countries and cities this would work.

What do you think?enter image description here

To elaborate and show the usage of the example above you can also look at how Quora and Facebook handle this. Again in both examples I was searching for "New York"


Here is an interesting way - still using suggestions - but separating the groups of data in a table structure within the suggestions. enter image description here

Quora: enter image description here

Facebook: enter image description here

  • That is why I didn't want to give the example of the cities :/. The problem is that the user has info in the interface that he is seeing things for United States. If I put one search bar there it will induce that the search is for United States only.
    – Tiago
    Nov 27, 2013 at 11:35
  • 1
    What are the actual data groups you are dealing with as this would help us in providing a better answer?
    – Adriaan
    Nov 27, 2013 at 11:42
  • 1
    Your concern about "If I put one search bar there it will induce that the search is for United States only." wouldn't be a problem if the list of suggestions work correctly as it will show the user clearly what types of things are searchable. You can go even further by putting an example masked text as the default value of the search for example: [ Type to search countries, cities, etc. ]
    – Adriaan
    Nov 27, 2013 at 11:45
  • 1
    That works well in the case of the cities. However, in the case of the songs isn't quite intuitive to search for "R u mine?, UK". Actually, it is quite common that the user might not know where the music is from.
    – Tiago
    Nov 27, 2013 at 11:51
  • Added two more examples in the answer above.
    – Adriaan
    Nov 27, 2013 at 11:51

A simple way of handling it would be by combining your global search with a scoped search which allows users to search across multiple countries yet filter down as needed.

enter image description here

So your search bar if showing songs from only the United states only will look something like this


download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

You can take this further by showing the user the scoped results for that particular country and also showing him additional results so that he can perhaps refine his search results as needed.A good example would be itunes

enter image description here

To quote the UX Movement article

An example of this is iTunes. They use a global search with scoped search results. The user starts their search globally and gets relevant results by section. From there, the user chooses the section that best fits what they’re looking for. Once its chosen, the user sees an archive of content for that section. This approach is a lot more natural and intuitive for users.

  • We are getting somewhere. This seems like a good solution. There is one problem though. That selection kinda introduces repetition in UI since there is already a something that shows the current country and allows the user to change it. I want to keep it as simple as possible, but I guess you gave a big step in that direction. thanks :)
    – Tiago
    Nov 27, 2013 at 18:17
  • How are you showing the current country ? Another option is to just show the results by country but also allow him to see other options like how itunes does it
    – Mervin
    Nov 27, 2013 at 18:19
  • My provisory solution for the current country is a combo box that allows the user to write the country or select it from a list.
    – Tiago
    Nov 27, 2013 at 18:25

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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