I want to wireframe a behavior I've seen on Squarespace.com. First I need to know what you would call it. The behavior is: As you type text in one part of the screen, another part is dynamically updating and changing what it displays based upon what you are typing.

Here is an animated gif of the behavior:

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It's called Incremental Search, although it's more common to see it called real-time suggestion or typeahead

In computing, incremental search, incremental find or real-time suggestions is a user interface interaction method to progressively search for and filter through text. As the user types text, one or more possible matches for the text are found and immediately presented to the user. This immediate feedback often allows the user to stop short of typing the entire word or phrase they were looking for. The user may also choose a closely related option from the presented list.

The method of incremental search is sometimes distinguished from user interfaces that employ a modal window, such as a dialog box, to enter searches. For some applications, a separate user interface mode may be used instead of a dialog box.

The specific method you mention, which combines both the autocomplete feature on input and the results in real time is known as Instant Search after Google's Instant Search

  • Thank you Devin - very informative. If it's used for something other than search, for instance as a method for updating form content - what would you call it then? In another 30 minutes I will be posting another question showing something very similar to what I'm asking about now if that's not clear. – Steve Crow May 11 '16 at 22:23

Google uses this same behavior called Instant Search when searching. I have also seen it called Live Search as a more generic term. It asynchronously gets data from a server, usually implemented using AJAX requests on the Internet, though it could work in a local application also. It can be a great feature in a program when implemented correctly, filling in the desired search the user wants with little effort.

In web development, there are many different tools and libraries already written, that could be a good starting place.

  • William - thanks for the info. If it's used for something other than search, for instance as a method for updating form content - what would you call it then? – Steve Crow May 11 '16 at 22:25
  • @SteveCrow I've never seen it used for updating information. Can you give a more clear example into what you mean by that? – William Casey May 11 '16 at 22:28
  • yes I will be posting an example in about 20 minutes or so - it's very strange I grant you – Steve Crow May 11 '16 at 22:39

There might be a more generic name for this design pattern/behaviour, but I think it depends on the exact type of user interface elements you are dealing with and the specific interactions involved.

For example, if you type into a search bar and your text automatically changes then it is an auto completion (could apply to an adjacent field as well).

Also, if you select from a dropdown list and other fields auto populate then I guess it is a live or instant update behaviour.

In a table that is linked to a search/filter tool, I don't think there's a name for it because it is a standard search/filter behaviour on a data grid/table.

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