Faceted Navigation Guide (+ 10 Best Practices)


Ever wondered how some eCommerce sites just make you want to keep clicking and exploring? 

Well, that’s the magic of faceted navigation, and we’re about to dive into the ten best practices and examples that can turn your online store into a user-friendly wonderland. 

So, get ready for a journey through the ins and outs of faceted navigation.

Let’s get to it!

What is faceted navigation?

Faceted navigation, also known as faceted search or guided navigation, is a powerful tool used by online stores to make finding products easier by choosing their desired product characteristics to narrow down the search results. 

Imagine you’re shopping for clothes, and instead of just having basic filters like “Women’s Clothes,” faceted navigation lets you refine your search results more precisely. 

So, if you’re looking for “Women’s Shoes,” you can narrow down your choices using facets like color, size, and price range. 

If you don’t know the difference between filters and facets by now, let me explain. 

Unlike regular search filters, which can be a bit broad, facets are like super-specific filters that you can only apply to the search results after typing in a search query. 

Online stores set up these filtered facets to help you quickly find what you want without getting overwhelmed or having to look through a bunch of irrelevant products.

It’s like having a personal shopping assistant, making your online shopping experience more enjoyable and efficient.

How does faceted navigation work?

Now that we know the meaning of faceted navigation, let’s explore how it works. 

Faceted navigation works by providing users with a set of filters to refine their online searches when using an eCommerce search bar

Faceted filters offer checkboxes or options related to different characteristics like size, color, or price. 

As users click on these facets, the search results dynamically adjust, showing only the items that match their selected criteria. 

This real-time customization simplifies the search process, allowing users to quickly find what they’re looking for without being overwhelmed by a flood of irrelevant options. 

Essentially, faceted navigation transforms the user’s journey into a more streamlined and personalized online experience.

Now that we know the answer to the question, “What does faceted navigation do?”, let’s see why it’s so important for online stores.

Why is faceted navigation important for eCommerce sites?

1. Show Product and Content Availability

Faceted filters play an important role in presenting users with a clear view of the products and content available on an eCommerce site. 

By strategically organizing and displaying items based on various attributes, users can easily comprehend the range of offerings, fostering a more intuitive and informed shopping experience.

2. Minimize the Need for Multiple Searches

One of the key benefits of faceted navigation is its ability to significantly reduce the necessity for multiple searches. 

Instead of conducting repetitive searches to pinpoint specific products, users can efficiently refine their preferences through faceted filters. 

This streamlines the search process, saving time and enhancing overall user satisfaction.

3. Easily Manage Large Catalogs

For eCommerce sites with extensive content catalogs, faceted navigation acts as a powerful organizational tool. 

It makes the management of large inventories more feasible by allowing users to filter and navigate through the catalog based on their specific criteria. 

This not only prevents users from feeling overwhelmed by an abundance of options but also contributes to a more seamless and enjoyable browsing experience.

10 Faceted Navigation Best Practices & Faceted Navigation Examples

Now, let’s go through 10 faceted navigation best practices and practical faceted navigation examples that can help you improve your customer experience and increase your sales.

1. Implement a User-Friendly Facet Design

Crafting a user-friendly facet design involves creating an interface that is both clean and intuitive, ensuring a seamless shopping experience for your customers. 

To implement this on your eCommerce site, use a visually appealing layout with easily distinguishable facets. 

Group related filters together, presenting them in a logical flow that guides users through the refinement process effortlessly. 

For example, as you can see in the faceted navigation example below, the facets are arranged by “Size,” “Gender,” “Color”, and “Price” in a grid layout, providing shoppers with a visually organized and user-friendly faceted navigation UX.

faceted filters

2. Provide Relevant facets

Aligning facets with the specific needs of your customers is crucial for a successful eCommerce site. 

To incorporate this faceted navigation best practice, identify the most pertinent facets of your products. 

If you sell electronics, relevant filter facets could include “Brand,” “Screen Size,” and “Price Range.” 

For instance, a beauty products site might have relevant facets like “Concerns,” “Skin Type,” and “Ingredients,” offering customers filters that are directly applicable to their preferences and needs.

facet navigation

3. Use Thematic Filters for Accuracy

Thematic filters, such as categories or collections, significantly enhance the accuracy of search results. 

To add this faceted navigation best practice on your eCommerce site, create thematic filters that reflect the nature of your products. 

For example, a home decor site like the faceted navigation example below, could have thematic filters for product styles like “Bohemian” or “Farmhouse,” allowing customers to easily explore and find products aligned with their aesthetic preferences.

faceted navigation

4. Show the Results Count for Chosen Filters

Providing transparency through the display of the number of products matching selected filters is essential for guiding customer decisions. 

To implement this on your eCommerce site, include a dynamic results count for each filter selection. 

For instance, in the navigational search example below, if a customer chooses “Necklaces”, “Diamond”, and “Emerald Cut” for a jewelry search, it displays “46 Results” next to each facet and at the beginning of the search results for immediate feedback. 

This ensures customers are well-informed about the outcomes of their faceted filter selections, promoting confident decision-making.

image 4

5. Add Pictures for Better Engagement

Enhance the user experience by incorporating images for each facet, offering customers a visual preview of their choices. 

To implement this on your eCommerce site, include thumbnail images representing each faceted filter option. 

For a toy store, display logos for the “Brand” filter like in the faceted navigation example below.

This not only engages customers visually but also provides a more immersive and informative shopping experience.

faceted navigation ux

6. Simplify Navigation with Expandable Menus

Optimizing faceted navigation on both desktop and mobile is crucial for user satisfaction.

 To include this faceted navigation best practice, use expandable menus that present faceted filters in a compact yet accessible way. 

Design menus that collapse to a concise list on mobile and expand on click. 

For example, a mobile user on a health foods store site could tap on a collapsed “Categories” menu to reveal expandable subcategories like “Confectionary,” “Nuts,” and “Supplements,” ensuring a streamlined and clutter-free mobile shopping experience.

7. Select Multiple Filters at Once

Allowing users to select and apply multiple filters simultaneously streamlines the search process and refines results even further. 

To implement this on your eCommerce site, enable checkboxes or a multi-select option for filters. 

For instance, a toy store site like the faceted navigation example below, lets users choose multiple faceted filters such as “Brands: Monopoly, Scrabble, Connect4, and Guess Who”, “Price Range: $7.00-$35.55”, and “Popularity: 5 Star” at the same time. 

This user-friendly feature enhances convenience and flexibility in the search process, catering to diverse customer preferences.

faceted filters

8. Organize Facet Values Clearly

Maintaining an organized storefront by categorizing and arranging facet values clearly and logically contributes to a positive user experience. 

To use this faceted navigation best practice, group related values together. 

For instance, in an online clothing store, arrange “Brand” values alphabetically, making it easy for customers to locate their preferred brands quickly. 

Clear organization ensures that customers can navigate through filter facets effortlessly, contributing to a more enjoyable shopping journey and faceted navigation UX.

faceted filtering

9. Highlight Chosen Values

Providing visual confirmation to users by highlighting their chosen faceted filters ensures they remain in control of their selections. 

To implement this on your eCommerce site, use visual cues like color changes or bold text to signify selected filters. 

For example, in an online craft store, like in the faceted navigation example below, once a customer selects “Home Decor” and “Candles and Holders,” these chosen facets change color and become blue.

This not only confirms the user’s choices but also enhances clarity and user confidence throughout the shopping process.

facet navigation

10. Optimize the Number of Filters

Striking a balance between offering enough faceted filters for customization and avoiding overwhelming users is crucial. 

To implement this faceted navigation best practice, prioritize key filters that are relevant to your products. 

For example, a shoe store might focus on “Price,” “Color,” and “Size” as primary filters, preventing decision fatigue. 

This strategic optimization ensures that customers have essential options for decision-making without being inundated with unnecessary choices, contributing to a more focused and efficient faceted navigation UX.

faceted navigation

Implement Faceted Navigation with Doofinder

Incorporating faceted navigation is key to optimizing your eCommerce site, and with Doofinder, you can take this experience to the next level. 

Doofinder’s advanced search engine features, coupled with an intuitive interface, ensure that your customers can easily find what they’re looking for.

Try Doofinder’s 30-day free trial now and witness firsthand how intelligent search and navigation can revolutionize your eCommerce success. 

Don’t miss out— empower your customers with a search experience like never before!