Sometimes referred to as guided navigation, faceted search and navigation uses certain product metadata as visible criteria visitors can use to refine their search queries and category listings.
Here is a simple 200 word explanation of both concepts so you will forever know the difference between the two.
What are search filters?
Filters use a certain product attribute as visible criteria visitors can use to refine search results or category listings. In ecommerce, filters are often used as a pre-set list of products based on ONE single criteria. This allows users to narrow a large set of products down to only those that match that one specific criteria. From there the user can narrow down the list further using facets.
While both facets and filters are used to restrict search and category listings to a subset of products, when this is done for internal diagnostic reasons and hidden to the end-user, this is done using filters (not facets).
Facets, on the other hand, are always used for building a user interface. A UI end-users can interact with to narrow their results.
What are search facets?
Facets are a way to add specific, relevant options to your search results pages or category listings, so that when your users search for a product or browse categories, they can see where in your catalogue they've ended up.
Where filters use certain product data as visible criteria visitors can use to refine the list of products, facets take it one step further and allow users to narrow results by SEVERAL different dimensions simultaneously. Those dimension are an attempt to describe all the different aspects of a product, for maximum flexibility in retrieval.
Facets are a subset of filtering, and help visitors quickly refine their options without losing their way or ending up scrolling through page after page of irrelevant products when they are in search of something very specific.
Design a great facets and filters, follow our design guide.