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I need some help over here :-)

I have a results page with filters to refine results but my users might need to add new criteria to get more results.

My question: Is appropiate to have filter and add options in the same panel just like in the picture below? How could I handle it? I appreciate your advices and links to UI examples. Thanks!

enter image description here

  • From that UI it is not at all clear to me if Greg Anderson is a result or a filter. I don't get add criteria to get more results. If it is a filter then it would be less results. – paparazzo Feb 25 '15 at 14:29
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Thanks for clarifying the question Marimba, I'm revising the answer to better address the use case.

New answer: The use case seems to be the following:

As a user I want to search for classes taught by either Greg Anderson or Julia Brown. Now I want to easily modify my search to also view classes offered by House.

So the system definitely needs to accommodate for "OR" type searches. On the plus side, it seems like the user does not need the flexibility of both "AND" and "OR" searches used together. Supporting both types leads to increase complexity as I've mentioned in the old answer and should be avoided whenever possible.

A good way to illustrate this is with checkboxes on faceted search. Checkboxes makes it easy for users to understand they're allow to select multiple. The number of items shown next to the facet options makes it easy for users to tell that they're adding to the results lists by checking more options. Keep in mind you should always display near the top of the search results how the filtering is done so it's easy for the users to understand what's going on.

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

If there are too many items to display them all within the sidebar, consider only showing the top matches, with a link to pull up all options. Or provide a "autosuggestion" type search mechanism. See below for example.

mockup

download bmml source

Old answer:

I'm going to have to ask the question, why? What is it that your users are trying to do?

Most search and filtering mechanism operates on the ability to refine your search results by providing more information. It's not a good idea to break this mental modal.

That said, there are systems that allow you to add to your search scope. They tend to be limited to use by power user. Sometimes system provide a text based "query-like" input, other times they are like mail rule builders to track which criteria will narrow search and which will widen search. Both approaches are not easy for a typical user to understand. So unless your users really need it, don't. It's better for users to perform 2 separate searches instead.

  • Hi, thanks for your input. My users make searches that link a person name to other criteria. Sometimes happens that they forgot to add one or two names or they want to expand the search by using other names without modifying the rest of the filters. For those cases, I would like to provide them with a quick solution that doesn't involve starting all over again. Did I answer your why question? Have you seen a successful model that accomplish this purpose? – Marimba Feb 25 '15 at 2:27
  • @Marimba Let me know if this hypothetical example matches your scenario and I'll be able to provide a better answer. A student needs to take the Genetics course. He would really want to be in the class taught by Dr. Anderson or Dr. Brown. He filters the results by the two professors but did not see classes that fits his schedule. So he wants to widen his search for other professors. – nightning Feb 25 '15 at 17:20
  • Hi @nightning . Keep all the scenario at the beggining and just change this part: "He filters the results by the two professors and he could see a few classes that fits his schedule. Then he recall that he also wants to be at Dr. House and Dr. Green classes, so he want to widen his search to include those professors as well." Does this make sense to you now? Thanks – Marimba Feb 25 '15 at 21:08
  • Okay. I've updated my answer. You probably want to add your scenario to the question up top. – nightning Feb 25 '15 at 21:56
  • Hello @nightning . Thank you for updating your feedback! Yes I have seen the solution proposed in many eccomerce website. That returns me to the original concern. We are providing a widening results option in a filter area. That is a contradiction for me because filter equals reduce, not widening. Maybe I'm wrong. – Marimba Feb 26 '15 at 14:19
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Your screenshot is not a proper UX for a user as filter screen should show only the filter result after applying the conditions(filters). Also if user has ability to add more condition to refine his result then you could provide a ""More filter" or "Add filter" option in your filter screen. In current screen "Add professor" indicate that user could add a new entry of professor which is wrong... right?! Also provide a title to your filtered/Search screen as "Search Result" so user will know which screen he/she is seeing.

Update

enter image description here

Check out above screenshot and details are followed :-

  1. First screen will show the list of professor without search filter. Also a drop-down is there for selecting class.
  2. When user tap on search button then a new screen will be presented/pushed as shown in another screenshot.
  3. In search screenshot, user will see the list along with a search bar for searching any profesor (Sorry, search bar is missing in search screenshot as I was in a bit hurry). Then user could add or cancell for that search.
  4. So if user need to add more professor then user could tap again on search and add other professor to existing one (existing one will be shown selected).

note for dev: for showing preserved data in search screen you could use push and at calling time could call the same controller object.

  • Hi @walle84 . Hmmm ... this is just one portion of the filter that has a title. What it shows are the result after appliying conditions. The "add professor" is just what I want. Why is wrong? Thanks – Marimba Feb 25 '15 at 11:54
  • Ok so could please elaborate your query with what exactly is required for user to see? Also what is "add professor" functionality from user perspective ? – nikhil84 Feb 25 '15 at 11:56
  • Hi @walle84. The user needs an option to include more professors in the search results. He doesn't want to start a new search because the other filters are fine. He just want to include (add) more options related to one specific filter (Genetics professors). It is clear now? – Marimba Feb 25 '15 at 21:09

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