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I'm designing a search interface for an insurance claims system. The system contains hundreds of thousands of records. Most users will know and search by a claim number, though claimants name can be searched on as well.

I'm considering the following approaches for the search behavior:

  • Offer a dedicated search entry page with a single entry field (enter claim number or name). When the user enters a query the system will display a dedicated results page. Display a search form above the results where the user can modify the query.
  • Offer a single page for both search and results. By default, the page will display a search form above an empty results section (empty state). When the user enters a query the matching results will display below the search form.

Is it better to have dedicated pages or a single search/results page?

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It depends

That really depends on:

  1. How frequently users will modify searches
  2. How much time will they spend surveying the results.

If (2) is low and (1) is high - you better put the form where the results are as having to frequently jumping back to the form will reduce efficiency.

If (2) is high and (1) is low - it's OK to have the form on a different page.

It doesn't depend

It doesn't seem your 'form' is really a 'form' - it only has two fields? Despite the said above, I can't really see how putting the search fields above the (possibly blank) results will reduce usability. After all the form will become hidden with scroll? And is always accessible at the top.

That's a pretty standard interface:

Google's search results, with the search field above the results

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