UIEtips article: Front End Concerns When Implementing Faceted Search

Jared Spool

August 6th, 2009

Faceted search brings us to the next level for easily finding some types of information. We can find cameras within a price range from specific manufacturers. We can quickly locate flights that leave in the afternoon on the airlines we’re collecting miles with. We can easily discover jobs within driving distance that are for companies that we are enamored with.

(If you aren’t familar with faceted search, Stephanie Lemieux wrote a great introduction, Designing for Faceted Search,  in a previous UIEtips.)

But setting up a system for faceted search has its challenges. Do it poorly and you will confuse and frustrate your users. They won’t reap the benefits of the design.

In today’s UIEtips, Daniel Tunkelang discusses the concerns designers face when building out the front-end of a faceted search system. He discusses where and when the design should present facets to the users and options for organizing them. If you’re embarking on a faceted search implementation, you’ll definitely enjoy this article.

Today’s article is an excerpt from Daniel’s new book: Faceted Search. You can get this book free when you register for Daniel and Pete’s UIE Virtual Seminar, also called Faceted Search. I recommend you gather your team together on August 20, 2009 and watch this seminar, as you’ll get some real insights in the challenges and tricks to implementing Faceted Search. Lots of stuff the search vendor’s salesman probably didn’t tell you. 

Have you planned out a faceted search interface to your data? What were some of the hurdles you ran into? How did you work through them? Share your experiences with us below.

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