7 reasons to replace advanced search with filters so users can easily find what they need
I started making websites over 20 years ago.
Advanced search is probably one of the earliest patterns I remember from the early days. The pattern is a link under the search box that takes users to a page with search options.
How bad can something so simple be?
After all there’s just a link, a page and a form.
And yes, advanced search is certainly better than all of the other patterns I’ve roasted in the past. But in comparison to in-context filters, it gives users an unnecessarily bad experience.
Reason #1: Advanced search is long winded to use
This is because the user has to navigate between the search form and the results every time they want to change their search criteria.
Reason #2: Advanced search decreases the chance of getting results
This is because every possible option is displayed even if they don’t have results.
Reason #3: Advanced search is more likely to make users give up
This is because not getting results the first time causes a lot of users to give up.
Reason #4: The link to advanced search is hard to spot
This is because the link is not prominent.
Reason #5: The advanced search options lack context
This is because the form is shown on a separate page away from the list.
Reason #6: Advanced search increases cognitive load
This is because all possible options are shown in one big form.
Reason #7: Advanced search may cause users to fill out all the fields
This is because most users expect every form field to be required unless marked optional (which makes reason #3 worse).
Use filters instead
Because they solve every problem that advanced search creates.