Copyright © 2019 Xiaonan Ma.

Search Experience for Content Management App

Background

 

This design exercise focusing on searching experience for a legal firm content management app. The document library has enormous amount of case folders. And each case has plenty of sub folders, different types of documents, related emails & attachments, members, etc. User usually gets too many search results by basic search function and most results are not needed. The challenge is to help users find desired target information efficiently.

Research & Analysis: Breakdown  “Search”

 

Thinking the meaning of “Search“, what is the ultimate purpose, goal and value of search function for target users? I Googled key words about SEO (Search Engine Optimization), SEO trends as well as explored the search functions of Google, Amazon, Forbes and public library websites. Based on those information and analysis, below is my understanding of “Search“.

Search starts with users’ intents and it’s a process of narrow down information results. Both users’ intents and contents are usually very diverse. In this design exercise, the challenge is to provide accurate results when there are the various documents types and plenty of different attributes. 

Scenarios

 

User get desired results immediately

This is the simplest and desired scenario.

User needs to further narrow down search results

This scenario takes more time and steps. The design solution should first try to avoid this happen, then make the filtering process as simple as possible. 

Design Goals

The key values of a search function should provide accuracy, efficiency and valuable information. For case content search function, a good user experience should be easy, simple, time-saving, flexible and personalizable.

Ideas & Solutions

 

Before came up comprehensive design solution, I brainstormed ideas which may help make the search process easy, efficient and personalize. Below are some ideas and possible features. 

 

When user is entering keywords

  • Show search history, frequent search item should be at the top of the list.

  • Provide recommendations when entering.

 

Narrow down search results

  • For criteria which has fewer attributes, each attribute can be selected directly.

  • For criteria which has lots of attributes, attributes should be searchable and selected.

  • User can save/bookmark the criteria combinations, which can be applied immediately in future.

  • Applied criteria/filters can be edited.

 

For search results

  • Search results can be sorted.

Concept I

 

This concept needs search first and then apply filters to narrow down search results. All criterias are listed in the same screen. 

Case Screen

User can mark folders as the favorite. Marked folders will always at the top of the list.

Before Search

Search history shows before user enter any keywords. User can delete search history as well as save specific search. Each search history also includes the filters applied.

Entering Keywords

When user entering keywords, related items and recommendations shows. When saving search matches, it’s listed at the top of the list.

Search Results

Search results are listed by relevance by default. ​

Filter

All criterias are listed in filter screen.

Filter Applied

User can add, remove and edit applied filters.

Concept II

 

This concept collects all the keywords and criterias in the search field first, then show the final search results. The filter only has criterias which have limited attributes.

Before Search

Search history shows before user entering. Each history is a group all keywords and filters for a search.​

Entering Keywords

When user entering keywords, related items and recommendations shows. Selected keywords will be listed at the top. 

Adding Keywords

User can keep adding keywords and criterias. Selected ones will be listed at the top. 

Search Results

Search results are listed by relevance by default. 

Filter

In this concept, filter only has criterias which have fewer and limited attributes. All criterias can be searched and added like keywords in the search field. 

Concept III

 

Similar with Concpet II, this concept collects keywords and criterias in the search field. The difference is this concept shows search results everytime after a new keyword/criteria added. 

Entering Keywords

When user entering keywords, related items and recommendations shows. Once a keyword is selected,  search results show.

Search Results 

Once a keyword is selected, search results show. 

Adding Keywords

User can add keyword to narrow down search results. Existing keyword won’t be deleted.

UI Design for Concept III

Case Screen

Entering Search Keyword

Search Result

Grids