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I'm new BA and I got my first requirement to analyze.

Issue: There are two search fields in my XYZ application; Item and Item Code. You can use either of these 2 fields to get the list of the items you need.

Current scenario:

  1. If Item = A, the item list populates all the items starting with A
  2. If Item = CO, the item list populates all the items containing CO
  3. If Item = PIE, it opens the item details of one of the pie items instead of populating a list of items containing pie

What could be the best way to restrict the search and get the most relevant items in the drop down list based on the search criteria? I was thinking to enter at least 3 letter that would populate the items starting with those three letters.

OR

Enter at least 3 letter that would populate the items containing with those three letters.

For critical applications, where you need to display list so that it is not misused by competitors by itendifying the items, what would be the best search option "starts with" or "containing" or any other you guys can suggest.

  • People have certain expectations for how search works, and most (major) sites match those expectations. I'd recommend you just spend some time with Amazon, Target, Best Buy, etc. and follow what they do. – Ken Mohnkern Aug 7 '15 at 12:51
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The "containing" option will likely be more satisfying for users. With that option, they don't need to know how the item starts. Example: "tir" could find both "car tires" and "motorcycle tires".

Neither option has much impact on the competitor "misuse" that you mentioned.

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What I normally do for my search functions is do ALL of them, just put the more relevant and specific results first, for example.

User search: CAR:

Results:

  • Car
  • Car Parts
  • Car Tires
  • Tire Care
  • ..
  • Carrots

Or if you want to signify to the user the point where you took a bit of abstraction you could just seperate the list like so:

Results:

  • Car
  • Car Parts
  • Car Tires

See Also

  • Tire Care
  • ..
  • Carrots

As you can see it starts with most relevant results and slowly gets more and more different. Then you can decide for your own business requirements how far away from the original results you want to display. Perhaps you only wants to display items outside of the "Car & Tire" department (i.e. carrot) if there are no results explicitly relevant to "Car".

Also using this technique I would combine the Item and Item Code into a single field, if the user types in the item code it obviously returns the item that has that code as the first result.

I didn't exactly understand the competitor misuse part so hopefully this doesn't violate that.

EDIT: in this scenario for the one letter words, 'A', I would return first anything that starts with 'A', then things containing 'A'

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