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What is Faceted Search or Faceted Navigation?

What is Faceted Search or Faceted Navigation?

Faceted search, sometimes called faceted navigation, is the combination of traditional search with a faceted classification of items to build a navigation tree. Faceted search provides site visitors with a quick and intuitive way to narrow down their search results in real time.

This is very common on eCommerce sites such as Amazon. Once you perform your first search, generally you are presented with a section of results and a list of classifications down the left hand side so you can narrow down your results further based on a combination of attributes.

Here are a couple examples of faceted search navigation systems:

Notre Dame College of Engineering

The online faculty directory of the College of Engineering at the University of Notre Dame makes it easy for web visitors to quickly look up faculty members, students, staff members and alumni:

Notre Dame Faceted Search

  • The site adapts features smart search results by presenting default search results and options that are based on where you are at in the site architecture
  • An A-Z navigation allows users to quickly jump to a list of profiles based on members' last names.
  • A faceted navigation lets visitors refine the data by narrowing down in real time the results based on "Staff Category", "Area of Expertise" and "Affiliation".

Steel Grip Inc.

Steel Grip's online product catalog features a sophisticated faceted navigation system that encourages web visitors to browse through categories by easily narrowing down or expanding search results in real time without having to go back to a previous page.

Steel Grip Faceted Search

University of Virginia

The University of Virginia Health System website provides visitors with several fast and intuitive search and browsing mechanisms to find medical information and doctors:

UVA Faceted Search

"Find a Doctor" allows visitors to narrow down the list of doctors by one or more Specialty, Languages Spoken and/or Gender using a faceted navigation system.

UVA Faceted Map

Thanks to a Google Maps integration, finding locations is greatly simplified. When used in conjunction with the "Quick Search" and the A-Z navigation, visitors can shorten the list of clinics to the left of the map by searching for a service provided, street name, location title and more.

"Search Conditions & Treatments" allows visitors to jump to a condition or treatment based on the first letter using an A-Z search.

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