Auto-suggest on Web Apps

19 Aug 2008 - 9:23pm
6 years ago
1 reply
672 reads
Diego Baca
2008

I'm considering to add auto-suggest text fields to a project I'm currently
working on. I like the feature because it saves me time when I know exactly
who or what I'm looking for. For instance, I use the search feature on
Facebook constantly when looking for friends. However, I've found the
following:

1) Sometimes suggestions don't populate as quick as I expect.
2) Fields that contain this feature are difficult to differentiate from
those that do have it. Unless I start typing I won't know that I have this
feature available.

>From my own knowledge this type of feature has been used on web apps in the
last 3 years or about. Is the use of this type of input field being embraced
for use on web applications? Are there any additional usability concerns?

--
Diego

Comments

22 Aug 2008 - 10:47am
jrrogan
2005

Hi Diego,

We use "Auto Suggest" in our web app for lookups, some differences between a
simple Google auto suggest are:

1. One entered parameter - auto suggest displays many parameters: Auto
suggest displays multi-parameter details per result suggested, (the dropdown
panel of Auto-Suggest). For example if you search via "last name" auto
suggest displays - "last name", "first name", "ID 1", "ID 2", "Org", etc.

Likewise related to the above, you can enter any of the parameters which
will again display the many parameters. Messaging of this can be tricky

2. When we first implemented Auto suggest, it was configured as "Includes"
text,which caused alot of issues, such as typing in "smi" brings up "Smith"
"Mc Smith" "Josmie" etc, and the many results weren't so useful. We moved to
"starts with" which gave much better results.

3. We created a threshold for "Auto Suggest" to min 3 chars, because of
engineering issues. This caused problems when the value searched upon was
under the threshold such as a last name "Ig" or "Li". An execution button
got past this, (Go/View/some execution button).

As far as differentiating the field, we have it built in all main lookups,
as the only simple search element, when it is in a form wee differentiate it
with a "combo" box icon, (kind of like a drop down indicator).

Note users really like it when it's fast, when it's slow users hate it.

Rich

On 8/19/08, Diego Baca <dbacapro at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> I'm considering to add auto-suggest text fields to a project I'm currently
> working on. I like the feature because it saves me time when I know exactly
> who or what I'm looking for. For instance, I use the search feature on
> Facebook constantly when looking for friends. However, I've found the
> following:
>
> 1) Sometimes suggestions don't populate as quick as I expect.
> 2) Fields that contain this feature are difficult to differentiate from
> those that do have it. Unless I start typing I won't know that I have this
> feature available.
>
>
>
> --
> Joseph Rich Rogan
> President UX/UI Inc.
> http://www.jrrogan.com

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