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Problem

We want to combine the 3 search types (keyword, term, FR). On Friday, April 27 we had a longish chat with Dominic and explained a problem with the search UI. It concerns the UI interaction sequence, and that imho nobody has explained yet what exactly the word WHICH does. The problem can be explained thus:

When the user selects a thesaurus term (e.g. "China [place]"), what happens?

  • how does he select the appropriate relation? The choices are:
    All, All Fundamental, (and for this thesaurus): From, About
  • is the relation shown to the right of the term?
  • if he wants to add an alternative (disjunctive) term for the same FR, how does that happen and where is it added? Does the term jump to the left of the FR?

The fundamental question is what does the user select first, and how this selection meshes with the next one

  • if he selects first a term (across all thesauri), that determines a set of applicable FRs
  • if he selects the FR, that determines one (or in a few cases more) thesauri
    So we need to clarify how this sequence works: Term - FR - alternative Term.

.bq The China example is good but a few more examples would be useful.

Any thesaurus will work, e.g.

  • term "Painting [Object]"
  • determines FR "has type"
  • now if user wants to add alternate term "Drawing [Object]", how does he do that?

Vertical (Tabular) UI

Here's a row-oriented (tabular) design that provides one functional (though maybe ugly) alternative,
and also allows sufficient space for the explanations (which can get hairy)
search-tabular-UI.xls

Still need to work out some details:

  • what if All coincides with All Fundamental (e.g. "thing has type" is such)
  • what if there's only 1 applicable FR (e.g. "has type", "uses technique", "made of material" are such)

Pros and Cons

Vertical (tabular) has these pros:

  • easier to understand what is what since things are lined up
  • there is space for the explanations, which can get quite hairy
  • easier to edit a search since things are in fixed places

Vertical (tabular) has these cons:

  • the search takes more space
  • the search looks more complicated

Maybe horizontal could work, if you figure out the UI interaction sequence.

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