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Quick Search

This pattern provides a filter mechanism to quickly narrow choices in lists with a large number of items.

Interactive Example

Start composing a search keyword by using the keys to the left. Repeatedly press the same key to select a letter.


Users need to find an entry in a long list.


When having to enter long search keywords a full search facility may be inefficient. Some users may not be familiar with the cellphone search metaphor where multiple characters are assigned to one key.


Allow the user to type keywords by using a reduced keyboard of 10 buttons. Users can select the assigned characters and numbers by repeatedly hitting the same button. After a timeout, the selected character appears in the search field. The process can be repeated to build longer keywords. The user sees which letters have been selected and is able to correct them by using a backspace button.

Safety Impact

When used in a safety-relevant context this pattern may contribute to safety by letting operators find items more quickly and more efficiently.

Usability Impact

Using this pattern increases search efficiency through “live” search feedback displaying the results of the query upon each change.

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