What is Faceted Search?
Faceted search, also called faceted browsing, faceted filters or faceted navigation, is an element that helps users narrow down their search results. Facets are filters, each of which can be turned on or off. They can be applied to any field in the database.
Users can choose to see results that match all the filters or just those that match one filter to find what they are looking for. It is a way to organize information by breaking it down into smaller, more specific categories.
Faceted search helps you to narrow down your search by considering specific criteria. This navigation option allows visitors to explore a catalog by choosing what they want to see. It can be used on different websites, especially e-commerce stores with an extensive catalog.
On the other hand, it might not be the best solution for small businesses that haven’t got a lot of products. However, simple filters can do the job for websites with fewer products.
For example, let’s suppose you’re looking for a new phone. Choices are endless since many details and attributes exist in a category like this.
You could facet your search by storage capacity, brand, price, and condition, which would bring up all the phones in your search results related to your faceting.
Why Should You Use Faceted Search?
You should use the faceted search on your website for many reasons. Here we listed the most important ones below:
- Faceted search helps users narrow down their search results by making it easier to find what they’re looking for, which can increase the engagement of your website.
- It allows users to filter their results based on brand name or product type attributes. Thanks to that, they can easily find what they need precisely rather than scroll through tons of irrelevant results that don’t match their search query exactly.
- It is also helpful for people who are not sure what they’re looking for. If visitors know the general category of what they want, they can find it quickly.
- Faceted search improves user experience by helping visitors find more relevant products or services in less time.
- Thanks to faceted search, you can display your wide range of products and services with their details.
9 Best Faceted Search Practices to Improve UX
Faceted search is a way for users to find content on your website, but it’s also a good way for you to increase sales.
A well-designed faceted search can help users find the exact information they need quickly, and it can help you make more sales by showing your visitors relevant options.
Faceted search can be tricky, but here are some best practices that will help you get started:
1. Provide Basic Filter Options
Although it is good to include a lot of different filters, you need to provide basic filters first. Then, you can divide them into subcategories. Then, while organizing your options, you can go from general to specific categories.
If you include pricing details as a facet, offer price ranges to your visitors so that they can find a product that is suitable for their budget.
Amazon does a great job in that sense in its faceted search section:
Including options such as under $10, $10 to $15, Amazon helps users to save time. Also, including a price range like this can be helpful if people consider paying specific amounts for a product they are about to purchase.
2. Keep Your Visitors’ Needs And Interests in Mind
You must consider your customers’ interests and needs while adding different options. You don’t want to overwhelm potential customers with unrelated options. Instead, provide them with what they are searching for in a specific product category.
Faceted search is there for making purchase decisions quicker, not to bore visitors with unnecessary details.
Zara’s faceted search section of a t-shirt category can be shown as an excellent example of that matter:
The T-shirt page’s sorting options include categories such as color, details, product type, sleeve type, size, and price. These are the main things when you think of a t-shirt, and it makes sense to filter a wide range of t-shirts with these options.
Then, the option “details” is divided into options such as basic, cropped, oversized, printed, and striped. Other options are similar to this one as well.
For example, let’s say visitors are looking for a white striped t-shirt with long sleeves; by using a faceted search like this, they can find t-shirts that they have in mind efficiently.
When you select what criteria you want to see, you can click on “view results” at the end. If a person wants to go back and search for another facet, they can also use this section again.
Thematic filters can be added in addition to these. You can add relevant thematic facets during the holiday season and step up your users’ experience.
3. Find The Balance Of Your Facet Options
Use the right number of facets on your product pages. The best practice is to use a sufficient number of facets to make it easy for users to find what they’re looking for while not using so many that they get overwhelmed by having too many options.
You don’t want to add facets that are too many or not enough. Including criteria that no one searches for can be unnecessary. Try to include the most searched keywords and balance your options.
It depends on the product you are selling, so you can make up your mind considering your user’s behavior. Doing competitor research is another way since you can see which options they include on their page to get an idea of what you can add.
For example, IKEA includes five options on their wardrobe page, making their visitor’s job easier.
By adding basic categories such as functions, price, size, colors, and sort, IKEA provides a great research experience. However, adding unnecessary facets that can be related to a wardrobe would overwhelm visitors, so the brand found a balance here.
4. Sort Facets on Their Popularity
Sorting facets on their popularity will help you to improve user experience and reach the right people easily. Using alphabetical order is not always a wise choice.
For example, if you add an unpopular category at the top, people might lose interest or miss what they try to find.
If you know your target audience well, you can have a picture of which type of products they search for most of the time. That way, adding popular ones at the top and immediately attracting their attention can help you increase your sales.
5. Provide Multi-Select Options
Don’t forget to provide multi-select options in your filtering section. By allowing people to select multiple options, you can increase their chances of making a purchase.
In that way, people can precisely find the choices they are looking for. It also helps if a person considers different options for a specific product.
For instance, H&M includes different color options in their dresses page like this:
By using this faceted navigation, people can search for different dresses in beige, black and brown colors simultaneously.
The brand includes the colors with their name and shows the product numbers as well. Also, it gives users an option to choose more than one color in this part.
6. Show The Number of Products of a Facet
You can prove that you have an extensive catalog by including how many products are there in a facet. That way, people can sense that they can find what they are searching for on your website among so many different options.
For example, Sephora includes the number of products they have in a specific filtering option.
In their makeup category, there are facets such as the face, eye, lip, cheek, value & first sets, and the numbers of products in these facets are given in parentheses. You can include facets’ numbers like this since it is excellent to promote the variety of your products.
7. Arrange Facets’ Places Properly
You must arrange your facets’ places properly, so it does not overwhelm your visitors. It should go hand in hand with your page and not disrupt its style.
Pipcorn’s product pages can be shown as an example of that matter.
Pipcorn’s faceted navigation section looks as a whole with their product page.
Also, it shows applied pages below so that if people decide to delete that filter, they can remove it quickly and select another one.
It includes a sort by section at the top, which can help people to sort products according to featured, best selling, alphabetically, low to high pricing, or high to low pricing options.
8. Stay Away from Facets with No Results
It’s crucial to ensure your faceted search matches the kind of content you have in mind for each facet and that you keep it up-to-date, so it remains relevant.
For example, NYX Cosmetics’ pricing facet looks like this:
It starts from $0.00 and goes up to $50.00. But if a person selects $4, there would be no results since the cheapest product is $5.
Instead, it would be better if the facet option started from $5 so as to avoid the no results page.
Another example is La Roche Posay’s pricing facet which provides a better user experience.
Since products in that specific filter start from $8.00, the pricing range starts from that as well. In that way, facets with no results can be prevented.
9. Keep in Mind the Differences between Desktop & Mobile Designs
Like other elements of your website, faceted navigation should be developed to be mobile-friendly as well. Using the same style as the desktop on mobile may not work, so you should consider their differences while adding your facets.
Results can show up quickly since you can refresh the page immediately on the desktop. When you select a new filter, results can refresh your page and won’t lower your visitors’ experience.
For example, Nike’s faceted search design on the desktop looks like this:
It works for bigger screens and doesn’t disturb users while displaying the products. The page refreshes each time a facet is selected, but since it is a desktop, it doesn’t affect the user’s experience much.
On the other hand, its faceted search options, which are designed for mobile, look like this:
It doesn’t refresh the page each time a facet is selected. Instead, it gives you the opportunity to select your options or clear them. Then you can click on the “apply” button when you are done. That way, mobile device users can get the most out of the website’s faceted navigation feature.
In conclusion, a faceted search is excellent if you follow the proper steps while adapting it to your website. That’s why we have listed the nine best practices of faceted search in this blog post.
Considering these practices and examples we have given, you can develop your website’s faceted navigation. Don’t forget to put your customers and their satisfaction first because this feature will improve their experience.
Especially if you have an extensive catalog or different service options on your website, faceted filters can prevent your visitors from getting overwhelmed by so many options. Instead, they can set various options according to their needs and interests to find the most suitable ones.
By improving your faceted search section, you can also increase your sales and user engagement. Remember, happy visitors can be loyal customers, so constantly improving your website can enhance the user experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Multifaceted Search?
Multifaceted search is a type of search that allows users to search for information by multiple criteria. In addition, it is a type of search that will enable you to find information organized differently.
For example, if you’re looking for a new shoe, the multifaceted search would allow you to filter your results based on the type of shoe (boots, high-heels, sneakers, etc.), the color of the shoe, and the material used to make it.
You can easily use a multifaceted search by selecting options from each of these choices.
What are the Popular Facets?
Facets you add to your website can differ according to the products or services you sell. By evaluating the most searched options, you can include them in your faceted navigation.
The most popular facets are:
- Product ratings and reviews
- Age or size
- Color and style
- Pricing details or range
What is the Difference between Filter and Facet?
Facets and filters are both ways to narrow down a search. These two can be similar in some aspects since both help people find what they are looking for in a particular way. Facets are a way of grouping data into logical groups. One can apply multiple facets and find the relevant ones.
Instead, filters can be broader, and multiple options might not be applied. One can choose a filter before the search query, and it won’t be changed. Facets offer more options, and filters provide main categories of specific information.
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