Faceted search and facet amounts are one of the functions that makes searching in huge result sets bearable. And having the facet amounts explained with numbers to tell how many results each facet contain is a must. Problem is, it’s not very readable or scannable. This is an easy problem to fix.
Graphs on the other hand are visual representation of numbers, are easy for the eye to scan. You don’t need to read and process to understand the size relations between the columns/rows shown below.
The good thing is that we can achieve the same thing for our facet numbers by using the order of magnitude for each facet. Just right align the facet numbers and you’re pretty much there. If you’re lucky, you only need to add a small amount of CSS.
So, how could this be done better even better? Maybe by showing the numbers as bars with evenly spaced steps for each order of magnitude? I’ll test out the next chance I get. In the mean time, Photoshop will do:
What do you think? All comments are welcome!