Faceted Browsing

Faceted Browsing

Faceted Browsing is one way to use a Faceted Classification system to allow users to find information.

The key elements of a Faceted Browsing system are that:

  • users filter a set of items by progressively selecting from only valid values
  • the list of valid values are filtered to only show those that do have results available
  • results are displayed as soon as possible
  • it is impossible to get an empty result
  • any facet can be chosen as a starting point
  • it sits on top of a Faceted Classification system
  • it does not involve entering keywords

Sites with FacetedBrowsing

TravisWilson has built FacetMap, a demo that shows how to combine faceted classification, regarded as a “bottom-up” system, with the hierarchical navigation that’s typically considered a “top-down” structure, thereby giving (unsuspecting) users much more power over their browsing. The site lets you upload your own data to see how it can be browsed using the facetmap system.
Categories include age, gender, category, character, brand. This has a neat way of ‘removing’ a selected facet.
Almost a classic example. Categories include main ingredient, preparation, cuisine, season, course, special considerations.
[New York Citysearch restaurants]
The main categories are Neighborhood, Cuisine, Price and features. You can either browse or do a keyword search and use the facets to filter. The implementation isn’t great. You can’t see what you have filtered on, can’t remove a category.
[The Berkeley FlamencoProject]
FLexible information Access using MEtadata in Novel COmbinations. Includes a number of [articles] and a [working proof of using faceted metadata for an image library search]. PeterMe has a [blog entry] discussing this.
[] uses FacetedBrowsing to refine browse results for many products. Each product type has a different number of selections before further refinement is unavailable.
[IBM’s Product Finder]
Categories for notebooks include travel weight, display size, operating system, price, processor, availability, wireless, memory, hard drive. Some of the categories include overlapping ranges (less than $1000, less than $2000).
[Televisions on MSN shopping]
Only includes categories of price and brand. Does an odd thing with category – initial ranges are broad, when one is chosen there is an option to narrow the range. Not very well communicated in the interface.
[DC-2003 Conference Proceedings]
There really isn’t enough content in this one – most of the facets have only a few relevant documents. Perhaps it is just too granular.
[Recipes by SeaMark – Siderean]
A recipe demo that leads to content on epicurious
CompUSA?.com have FacetedBrowsing for many of their product categories. Many of the facets have sub-facets.
[Metagroup parametric search]
This meets all the criteria of faceted browse. It uses a set of drop-down boxes to select topics and displays results after each selection. I must say, it’s the ugliestFacetedBrowsing interface I have ever seen.
[Digital Web Magazine]
DigitalWebMagazine uses FacetedBrowsing for locating articles by date, author, title, type, and topic.

Comment – no, this is not faceted browsing, this is just using some metadata to allow readers to access content in different ways. There is no filtering – you can only go down one level and you’re at a list of content.
[Faceted Taxonomies Demo]
I have created a demo of “Faceted Taxonomies” for a nursing department of a hospital in Singapore using FacetMap.
I call it “Faceted Taxonomies” as each facet is like a taxonomy,except for the date and audience,which could be
hierarchically structured.It is called “faceted” as the various taxonomies are different aspect of the nursing
domain and it supports faceted browsing.