I have a search bar with the option to select what entity I am searching for. I am using material search behavior which expands the search field when the icon is clicked, so I used the dropdown to be shown with expansion.

Do you think this behavior is confusing? If so, what is the best solution to clarify this?

The image is showing before (1) and after (2) the expansion:

Material design search bar, before and after expansion .


2 Answers 2


My recommendation is to remove the option field from this point of time in the UX flow.

Consider the design patterns established by google.com (highly relevant since they are the undisputed marked leader in online search, setting user expectations). As outlined here, wait with presenting additional options, such as drill down categories (also called filters), until the user has formulated her initial query. If you want the user to search in specific metadata attributes, such as name, you might present this option as a distinct part of the autocomplete dialog. For inspiration, click the search box in this mock up.

Part of the rationale for using Google's patterns, such as the grouped results, is that the user experience becomes much more intuitive. Users don't have to make conscious choices based on your information architecture. Rather, they can choose from examples - that ideally are ranked by relevancy.

Particularly pertaining to choice of metadata fields, such as name: Imagine that you also have the metadata fields author and serial no.. You can then have autocomplete dictionaries (example) and regular expressions that identify queries that have valid hits in these fields, and thus present these fields above name, making the search more relevant and intuitive.


You need user to search by category but with current design you are breaking clue. Therefore, You should try placing the search icon with the categories. enter image description here

  • nice one but i dont think that the underline is necessary
    – Basem
    Aug 22, 2016 at 12:03
  • I have purposely kept it to make division between my search area and menu button. Else there are chances that user will end up clicking on menu option after typing. Aug 22, 2016 at 12:06
  • I wouldn't say this is the solution necessarily. Is selecting a category like "by name" a must, or is it a secondary option in the search? In this setup it looks like you have to use a category.
    – MJB
    Aug 24, 2016 at 11:21

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