NUMERIC FILTERS: Issues and Best Practices

Representing Discrete Values for Aspects as Sets of Ranges PAGE 132

Numeric Sliders PAGE 135

Inadvertently Emphasizing Over-constrained Filter States PAGE 135

Being Parsimonious with Inventory Information PAGE 137

Faceted search (introduced in Chapter 7, “Best Practices for Designing Faceted Search Filters”) has become the de facto standard for search on most ecommerce sites. Among the various types of facets that describe digital object collections for the purposes of conducting electronic commerce, numeric filters are quite common: They represent shoe size, camera resolution, price, rating, recommended age, and much more. Numeric filters help people make sense of their digital world and make better decisions. However, filters containing numeric values remain among the most confusing and difficult to use. The following three usability issues surface most often with numeric filters:

  • Representing discrete values for aspects as sets of ranges—for example, treating camera resolutions or shoe sizes as a continuum instead of a collection of discrete data points
  • Inadvertently emphasizing overly constrained filter states, which makes it too easy for people to select un-resourceful system states, such as products with a one-star rating
  • Being parsimonious with inventory information—using UI elements that do not report inventory amounts, which makes it difficult to predict the outcome of interacting with these elements

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