I am currently designing a software which has a search bar placed in the navigation menu. The search bar includes drop down list with types of entries(users, users number, reports), input field and search button.

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It is important to have the drop down, since the software will be used in a really low bandwidth connection and will search through a huge data base.

In the desktop version of the application the search bar is fully visible, but for lower resolution the search bar will have to be hidden to save space for the menu (which can consist up to 10 links). Instead a button which will animate in the search bar will be placed.

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One of the issues is that the dropdown ads an addition step to the search workflow. So instead of clicking the search icon and directly typing, the user will have to choose a type. Another issue is that the user may miss the dropdown and not understand he hasn't conducted the correct type search.

Have you encountered something like this before? Can you share your experience on whether the drop down will have a crucial effect?

Thanks in advance

  • 2
    I don't understand why you need the drop down? Searching a huge database efficiently is very achievable, and only the results should be returned over the low bandwidth connection.
    – user31143
    Commented May 13, 2016 at 12:49
  • This is a requirement I have to follow. The types can include order number and client number both of which consist of 8 numbers. This is just something that we need to have...
    – Loro
    Commented May 13, 2016 at 12:56

2 Answers 2


If you're going to use a dropdown menu as part of your search bar, try looking and gmail and the way they do it for greater clarity and maybe a solution for on mobile. My gut would say to have a feature – the dropdown, inside the search bar once its tapped for a more detailed search if a regular search just wont surfice.


So I'm working on a project that is doing something similar, but we might be using the dropdown differently than you are.

We start off by defaulting to a "global search", that is we search across all our various categories in our dataset. If you'd like to refine your initial search to a specific category, the dropdown provides that functionality.

We also have type ahead support so that as you type your results are being populated in a selection window below the search bar, and if you'd like to refine there we have a menu to choose a category.

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