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Designing the UX for a medical services website and trying to determine whether it is best to have the user filter the results to their specialty or prompt the user for their specialty before displaying results.

Either way the user must select their specialty to get the information they are searching for.

  • Users are people seeking medical treatment in the main user story? – digsrafik Sep 9 '14 at 8:09
  • No, it's for medical professionals and it's an educational website. Courses are designed for about 8 distinct disciplines. – Chris Aplin Sep 9 '14 at 15:38
  • Extended it a little. Professionals - it plays for displaying something first. Maybe new stuff first and stuff related to discipline(s) they filtered for last time? I am expecting they will prefer one or two areas. Thinking what else might be relevant... Do you also have a lot of immigrants and elderly people being overloaded being medical professionals? – digsrafik Sep 10 '14 at 14:27
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Depends a lot on the search and filtering options user has and needs to remember. The more is the thing for professionals and the less it is close to their main task (saving lives for example), the less of their daily brain capacity the UI should take. Very generally:

A lot of filters, possible keywords in search, user does not use the terminology on daily basis. - Display items for user to have a clue where to start. They'll be able to guess or recall taxonomy and keywords from it.

In case you have content that share many of these parameters - the content you are searching in being homogenous (of one kind), user uses the thing very often, small number of keywords and filters - You can try to display just prompt to search or apply filters, but really take your time with this way, test it and play with wording, visual and layout. Plus it's more prone to usability issues in time when adding little features and tweaks here and there.

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