RE: Designing a Very Specific Web Interface

Subject: RE: Designing a Very Specific Web Interface
From: Janet Valade <janetv -at- systech -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 5 Dec 2000 17:26:54 -0800

<<It differs from a search engine, however, in that it is not a full
search. Customers can search using specific criteria only. For
manufacturer, trade name, CAS #, ingredient, or user-defined data
which is
entered about the document. They can not search the content of the
document. This search functionality is core to our business & is not

something that will be changed (so please don't suggest that--we
want it
this way & more importantly so do our customers).

My question is this:
Do any of you have suggestions for designing search engine-like web
Other than simply looking at how other search engines are designed?
would it make more sense to design a more application-like interface
the criteria listed in drop-down boxes and with fields for entering
specific information? (FYI, we will build the interface, not
purchase a
search engine to run against our database.)>>

My feeling is that people are just as familiar with filling in forms as they
are with using search engines. I think that the more you can guide your
users so that their opportunities to enter incorrect information are
limited, the better. By search engine interface, I think of one field in
which users can enter any text. Are you thinking of several different input
fields, each one its own search engine, searching for a specific type of
info? Can users search on more than one key at the same time? If not, an
input field for search terms with a drop down list of the available keys to
be searched (trade name, CAS, etc.) would work. If they can search more than
one field in a single search to limit their search, it seems like something
like a form would be needed, where the user could enter search terms for
each key in a different input field.


Janet Valade
Technical Writer
Systech Corporation, San Diego, CA
mailto:janetv -at- systech -dot- com

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