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Designing Web Interfaces by Theresa Neil, Bill Scott

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Refining Search

Another variation on Live Search is Refining Search. Also known as Faceted Browse, Refining Search provides a set of live filters that allow the search results to be tuned in real time.

One of the earlier applications that effectively used Refining Search on the Web was Kayak, an online travel search site. The filter bar on the left dynamically updates the flight results on the right (Figure 13-15).

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Kayak uses a Refining Search model to allow users to tweak travel results in real time

Figure 13-15. Kayak uses a Refining Search model to allow users to tweak travel results in real time

Considerations

As we have shown with Auto Complete, the Live Suggest and Live Search React Immediately principle is a powerful way to narrow in on a desired result. Kayak uses this technique effectively to allow the user to iteratively get a new set of results by tweaking a set of filters. While the filters can be placed anywhere on the page that makes sense, most sites (like Kayak) place the filters in a lefthand sidebar.

Avoid page refreshes

It is important that each iteration of the result is displayed without a page refresh.

eBay uses a Refining Search (Figure 13-16). However, refinements are triggered only after hitting a "Submit" button. Each search generates an in-between page refresh. While this step may sound minor, it is very disruptive to the action-reaction feedback loop. ...

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