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I have a twitter style input that allows users to type in hashtags with their post. The user can then filter the news feed by these hashtags to see only posts that contain them. How can I communicate to the user that they can use the same input for both posting and filtering, as well as not confusing them with unintentional filtering.

At the moment my running idea is to have the input set up to make a new post, and as the user types in a hashtag a search button would appear beside the post button. This is short form content, so I don't feel like the user would fear losing their post by clicking search (they won't in any case) but since it hides the search button before it is clickable the user won't know how to access it.

  • Can you post a photo to show what you're talking about, kind of hard to understand from the description. – David Sheridan Mar 2 '16 at 11:42
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After reading @jJacobPariseau and @PixelSnader comments, i refined my concept and here are the states of the field.

  1. Normal mode, is when nothing is written inside the input field.
  2. The field is in focus and some regular text is written inside (not enough to make it expand) The "Post" button appears.
  3. When a user adds an hashtag inside with some text a small window appears beneath the input field with suggested posts that have the same hashtag. also beneath it there is an option to expand it and show more.
  4. When a user inputs only hashtags the option the "Post" button is not showing but only the related posts according to the hashtags.

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

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If you want to make it clear that they can do both, make both visible right from the start. enter image description here

But honestly, it seems like it could lead to a lot of accidental posts. You're conflating two different actions: creation and consumption. Could you explain why you're intent on combining both possibilities in one field?

  • Because a similar input can can be used for both functions. I could type "Hey there's a #party at the courtyard tonight, gonna be fun!" and by pressing the search button it would filter to all the #party posts so you can see what other posts are going to come up with yours. It just saves the user a step to be able to post something and see what other posts have the same tags. – JacobPariseau Mar 2 '16 at 19:49
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I think i would approach this with two input field options.

This will depend on the the text the user will input in the initial field.

If he will start with an hashtag, you should show him a search button and if he starts typing a regular text, expand the text field to a text area and show the submit button.

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

  • What if I want to search for something that doesn't include a hashtag? What if I want to start my post with a hashtag? – PixelSnader Mar 2 '16 at 17:27
  • Searching without hashtags isn't something I'm planning on implementing. Posts can start with hashtags though – JacobPariseau Mar 2 '16 at 19:54

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