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BHO Issue 4: ‘It is not clear which search filters are being employed’

by

Page

Search results

Heuristic

Learnability

Description

The textual part of the search query is repeated in the text box and result count line; but there is no description of what filters were applied (e.g. filter on the Calendar of State Papers).

Impact severity

Medium

Recommend

List each operating filter with an option to remove it, or add to it.

Examples

Search for Earl of Sussex using the filter Calendar of State Papers Domestic, James I

Not clear which filters are currently employed, and only option is to remove them all

 

Quantitative measure

You have searched for the Earl of Sussex and filtered for results only appearing in the Calendar of State Papers for James I. Click where you would expect to edit or remove that filter

Actual question

Please click on where you’d expect to EDIT the filter for ‘Calendar of State Papers for James I’

Initial click test result (‘before’)

July 2011, 200 responses.

‘Before’

Development change

Insertion of new ‘breadbox’ device between search text box and sorting options (search for Earl of Sussex on British History Online).

Modified interface

 

 

Follow-up click test result (‘after’)

September 2011, 154 responses.

‘After’

Reflection

Clear grouping in the breadbox to remove the filter; though some users still drawn to the old switch in the statistical section, some to the search text box, and some further still drawn to the link back to the advanced search. Further segment of users seemingly thinking that the fourth search result, which explicitly has James I in its title, would contain the trigger to remove the filter.

Much more thought needs to go into the ‘control’ section at the head of the results page to make the purpose of the functions painstakingly clear. Typically, putting look up filters into free text boxes wouldn’t be recommended due to misspelling, but some kind of auto completing drop down list might help here – research needed.