1

E-Commerce sites such as Amazon have faceted search, where the user can refine a set of products based on values or value ranges for certain criteria.

While that is a fantastic feature, I find it odd to let the user set the minimum price along with the maximum price, as theoretically a user should want the price to be as low as possible.

The only use for it I see in excluding wrongly categorized products. For example, setting the minimum price to 100 $ filters out all the piano accessories when searching for a piano.

Are there other uses? I see it also used in appartment searches, where I don't see the advantage over just giving the highest price.

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The case you mention (using minimum as some sort of additional filter for taxonomies) is correct, and a very important reason. Well designed faceted search systems will use this additional information to gather user's input and "guess" more likely results.

But it's not the only reason. Informed users who already know the value of the product will play with minimum values in order to exclude specific models of a product.

For example, if you know an ASUS motherboard costs around $300, you could use a $200 minimum and you'll get extremely faceted results.

I did this search with no filters at BestBuy and got 84 results.

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Did the same search setting a $200 lowest value and got 26 results.

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It's easy to see 26 results is way easier to check than 84. I can broad my search if needed, but for the time being, chances are I probably found what I was looking for. By just checking a box (or setting a slider) I took out low cost, used, refurbished, accessories and whatever.

Finally, it's a way to provide the user with a sense of locus of control , a technique used in marketing to increase sales by telling teh user "you will do whatever you want here, you're in full control" (which of course is false, because prices won't change, only search results)

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There are a few use cases:

  1. I want shoes for a wedding, it's a special occasion so I'm looking for something really nice but I've left it a bit late. I still want to pay as little as possible, but I want to filter out anything that's going to arrive and turn out to be poorly made.

  2. I'm looking for a place to live, I'd like three bedrooms, but I'd consider two, or even one if the place was really spacious and interesting, I'll still negotiate the lowest price possible when I buy, but what I don't want to see is every one bedroom place in the area I've focused on.

  3. I've bought a regularly consumed product, such as a toiletry product, quite a few times and I've decided that I'd like to add it into my beauty regime, but I haven't found a reliable brand I like yet and I've noticed the cheaper end of the scale yields poor results.

  4. I'm curious, I'm on your site browsing, I may or may not buy, but right now I'd just like to see what the top 10% of your watches by price are like.

Then there's your use case too.

Any way you look at it, there are plenty of reasons why a user would want to restrict the bottom end of the price scale so it would be a bad idea to take that off them.

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