I'm building a webApp and I'm facing a discussion with my client about the searching function of the app, the main porpouse of the webApp is to find houses to buy/rent.
Currently the search function works like this:
The user select a city from a dropdown menu, this dropdown will only contain city names and the user can't type anything else but a city name. The city name that appear in the dropdown are taken from our data-base and will be displayed in the dropdown only if it has at least one building registered, so only cities with valid buildings will be displayed. It also has an auto-complete function to show results based on what he's typing, see image:
After the user select the city he'll go to a page with all the results from that city and on the left side there is a list of filters. Then, the user can apply all the filters he wants and the results are shown in real time. Depending on what type of building he select, the filter will be different. For house is one, apartment is other, and so on.. See image:
Why I'm using it?
First of all, in this scenario, it's hard to have an user searching for a house in multiple cities, so instead of showing all the results, the webApp will show only results in that specific city (or even by distance, if the user wants to fill an address or point in map - other function).
Also, if he's typing in the search, for example: "House with 2 bedrooms and 1 suite", if there is no results, he´ll need to think again in other search phrase, or even rethink the house specifications he wants.
With a guided search, the user will search only in that city (region) and the filter options only shows up if there is any building with that requirement.
I don't need to make the user rethink the house, the phrase or what he'll search if there is no result, or if he had a typo in the search field. All the possible filters only exists if there is a house with that configuration.
What the client says?
Although I tried to explain this to my client, he insists we´ll save user's time if the search function is based on what the user type, because we show only what he's looking for.
What do you guys think about this? Is this type of guided search really a better way to filter the results? Or the old and commom search function still at the top when we need to filter large set of data?