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Faceted vs. Parametric search

From an interview with Peter Morville:

Peter Morville: The terms “faceted navigation” and “parametric search” are often used interchangeably, but for the sake of comparison I find it valuable to define interfaces that require the simultaneous, up-front specification of all search parameters as exemplars of parametric search. Like the Boolean queries of yore, this forces users to formulate and execute a search strategy without guidance or feedback. Sliders and pull-downs are easier than ANDs and ORs, but syntax is only part of the problem.

In contrast, faceted navigation lets users begin naturally with a keyword or two. They’re rewarded with traditional results plus a list of facets (or fields) and values, usually on the left. This SERP (search engine results page) serves as a custom map that offers insights into the content and its organization. And, this is a map that’s also the territory. Users can take a simple next step to clarify or refine their query by clicking on a facet value. And, by taking several of these simple next steps, users can construct a sophisticated, powerful query. So, not only do users find what they need, but they also learn along the way.

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