Users need to find a specific item in a large collection of items.
Offer a special advanced search function with extended term matching,
scoping and output options.
Information rich sites such as a E-commerce Site
, Multinational Site
, or Portal Site
contain so much information that users may not always be successful enough with a normal Search Box
. This patterns builds on the Search Box
pattern by adding some adding more search options. Advanced search is
intended for intermediate to expert users that need full control over the search engine so that they can be more successful in achieving their goals. Such users typically have more than
superficial knowledge about the items they are searching for. They may know the type of items and are set to search for a specific item they know or may not know exists.
The advanced search usually co-exists with normal Search Box
or as part of a Search Area
. The search function is extended in three areas:
1. More control over term matching.
This kind of functionality controls how the combined list of search terms is
interpreted by the search engine. Typically this includes AND/OR functionality
together with exclusion functionality. When the search engine supports AND/OR
functionality, use "match all terms" and "match any term" instead of AND and OR
operators in the text field. People often make mistakes using boolean logic so it is better avoided. Additionally, AND/OR in the keywords list could be supported for expert users but then additional Search Tips
are needed to inform
the users about the possibilities.
Scoping is concerned with which items can be found and which cannot be found. Scoping limits the possible Search Results
by defining the conditions that a results must meet. For example, results from a particular sub-site, item types (articles, video,
audio...), or item properties (title, date, location, size,
author...). Scoping is what makes users really powerful because it allows them to search for elements that are specific for the site.
3. More output control.
This allows users to control the way the Search Results
are presented. Aspects such as
sorting or Paging
sizes can be
Visually, the design follows the order above. A general layout is as
Also consider allowing users to search within the search results so that they can drill down further. This can be done by adding a link 'search within results' on the results page and allowing the users to add new keywords.
The advanced functions give the users control of many aspects of the
search. This requires additional knowledge of the data that is available and it
is hence only for experienced users. Many users have problems using the AND and
OR operators so it is easier the offer the type of match as an option (all
terms, any term, etc).
Alltheweb uses nice filtering rules for elaborate scoping together
with some more output control: