VASCO : Picturing a database
Icons help users filter multiple search results.
VASCO, a Belgium-based developer of user authentication security products, uses icons to classify information in the searchable Knowledge Base archive in the Support & Downloads section of its website.
Knowledge Base can be searched by key word, product reference number or product name (from a dropdown list). Search results include one of five icons corresponding to different types of information. The classifications, shown in the Legend at the bottom of results pages, are: Article, FAQ, Bug, How to… and I cannot…. The number of results per page can be set at 5, 10, 25, 50 or 100.
Support databases are a classic web-enabled feature, particularly on technology and business-to-business product sites, but many are consequently so well stocked that search results often add an extra layer of bafflement to the original query. VASCO’s use of icons is a simple but valuable aid that allows users to filter the matches visually by classification but still retain the full set of results in view.
Letting users set the number of results per page offsets one drawback to VASCO’s presentation, which is that on pages of 10 or more results the Legend is not visible without scrolling. Reproducing it at the top of results lists would enhance usability.http://www.vasco.com
First published on 10 October, 2006