Diving Into the Granular Details of Search Filters
Advanced Search Filters
As someone is searching, the filters will show what they’ve already selected, providing a basis for proper similarities. It can cascade their options based on what they’ve selected in particular, providing a category or thematic area to search through.
The filters need to dynamically change to actually represent the curated filters, that they are part of a particular category, that they have specific attributes and characteristics, etc. If the filters are unable to do so, it can be incredibly challenging for someone to navigate through and to filter for an item. It’s key that the most important and most used filters are presented at the top of the list of filters and that they can dynamically move their way up to the top of the list, preventing the user from having to scroll. Proving a dynamic and easy-to-use system in your search capability is important, as you want the community buying group to easily find their desired products, leading to higher customer satisfaction.
Within a set of filters, you may be presented with hundreds of attributes, which can be very overwhelming. As such, you typically only want to show users a few of the most popular attributes within a filter type. For example, maybe one of the filter types is based on color. Instead of showing 100 different color choices, maybe show the most popular 12 and then have an option to load more by clicking a “load more” button.
It is also important to allow a user to select multiple filters. Going along with the idea of color filters, a user may want to select both gray and charcoal as colors. They’re similar and the user may not be sure exactly which will suit the item better. This can be helpful when they still have some unanswered questions and decisions to make.
It’s also helpful to see how many items are a part of a filter attribute. Perhaps gray only had 22, but charcoal had 500. This can change which direction the buyer takes their search. Providing the user with the choices to either narrow or broaden their search is really helpful, and something like this is a simple way to do so.
Whenever you’re actually filtering products, you won’t want to have to refresh the page. You may also want to have it all in the browser’s history, so you can link someone the search with all the different filters that have been applied. Or maybe you’ll want to remove a filter by hitting the back button. Having these sorts of characteristics can really increase the ease in using a search filter.
Additionally, whenever you're searching you want to see accurate information. When logged in as a customer this is even more relevant, as there may be customer specific pricing and different inventory at different locations. If you’re doing a multi-location search, you want your actual location set as default, but then, if needed, the ability to switch locations if there isn’t the desired item in inventory. Things like this can impact the timeline of a purchase, making it an important feature for the buyer.
In addition, whenever I'm conducting my searching, if I'm logged in as a customer, I want to be able to see my customer specific pricing and I want to be able to see my locations, inventory information. So if I'm doing a multi-location search or the system represents multiple locations, I want to show my actual location that I've selected as a default and then, if needed, I would want the ability to change locations if the desired item isn’t in stock at the default warehouse or store.