All About Website Usability Blog – Holly Phillips

Endeca’s faceted search (from Mark Burrell’s UIE webinar)
January 21, 2010, 4:52 am
Filed under: Search

My last post summarized Peter Morville’s portion of the UIE webinar on Search Design Patterns.  Here’s part II:

Peter Morville’s talk was followed by a discussion led by Mark Burrell of Endeca, outlining the spefics of Endeca’s faceted navigation.  Key takeaways here:

  • Endeca has a UI Design Pattern Library.  From the examples that were shown, the seem to be patterns for the guided navigation portion of the page (for example, vertical stack guided nav, range slider, multi-select)
  • To design a good search experience, you need to understand business goals, user types, goals & scenarios, assets, and modes of integration
  • Think about both the “knowledgeable seeker” and the “uncertain explorer”
  • Faceted navigation isn’t limited to just text descriptions; he gave a good example of a car website ( that allows “browse by type” by showing sketches of body types (sedan, minivan, coupe, etc)
  • Quantitative facets can be given using range sliders, which gives the visitor greater control over seeing exactly what he wants (for example, all plane tickets between $100 and $450)

All in all, a pretty good summary of some of the best aspects and best practices of faceted navigation today.


2 Comments so far
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Was there any talk re: how much the quality of the data affects the success or failure of faceted search technology?

Comment by Dan Barbata

Not directly, but there was a question about whether large, diverse datasets can be handled well (the concern was that they might require many facets, making the whole thing unwieldy). The answer from Endecca was that even this type of data, if done well, can be handled by faceted search.

Good point about the quality itself, though — in our use of faceted search, we’ve found that “dirty” data (which the contributor doesn’t tag at all, or tags indiscriminately) does indeed produce ugly and irrelevant results. Unfortunately, I don’t think faceted search can fix the ‘garbage-in garbage-out’ problem 🙂

Comment by hollyhphillips

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