The 'Natural' way to finding the right content

I'm sure we are all familiar with the concept of checking and un-checking boxes on sites like Amazon in order to indicate our desire to include or exclude certain brands/sizes/colours/etc. from the products we seek to purchase. I think we can all agree that, by and large, this approach works fairly well so it is no surprise that equivalent approaches are often used in other types of software.

However, without getting technical, it does have its limitations, mainly due to the pesky OR condition. Try, for example, to show only black gloves from Brand X OR red gloves from Brand Y!

In an attempt to over-come this, programs such as collection managers frequently allow the user to 'manually' create search expressions like 'Item A' AND 'Item B' OR 'Item C'  which, to the initiated, requires brackets in order to be interpreted correctly; ('Item A' AND 'Item B') OR 'Item C' is an entirely different search to 'Item A' AND ('Item B' OR  'Item C'). For some, this is not a problem but, for many others, this kind of thinking can get pretty complicated quite quickly as the search criteria becomes more complex. Also, whilst this approach is, admittedly, very powerful, it requires that the user knows exactly what they are looking for up-front, and that is very frequently not the case.

Vee-Hive takes a diiferent approach, whereby the user takes iterative steps to, ultimately, focus on what is being sought. Simply put, one starts with a bunch of files and, progressively, retains those that meet certain criteria, discards those that don't, or adds more files that meet an entirely new set of criteria. All of this is achieved, each step of the way, by applying filters to the current set of files and it's all tracked via Breadcrumbs on the program's Breadcrumb Bar. Behind the scenes, these Breadcrumbs can represent very complicated search expressions (including that pesky OR condition) that, 99% of the time, you don't even care about. What's more, the Breadcrumbs can, themselves, be modified to reflect different types of filter (AND, NOT, OR) and even moved up- or down-stream in the chain.

Why is this better? Well, for one thing, it conceals the complexity of the question you are try to ask by not asking you to express it up-front. For another, sometimes you don't know what you are looking for until you find it; in another words, it facilitates and encourages discovery.