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I'm building a page that allows users to select "Accounts" in an enterprise software system (Salesforce.com). At first there were only three filters and positioning them all horizontally worked pretty well. As more filters have gotten added the display seems to be getting cluttered.

Does this clutter matter? I'm assuming that if a user is motivated the find a record they'll find the filters without much issue, but I'd love to know if there are any design patterns out there that could improve on my current design.

AccountViewerImage

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Is this the only search form or is there a "simple" search form and this is the "advanced" version? –  Roddy of the Frozen Peas Oct 17 '12 at 21:17
    
at the moment it's always advanced –  Ralph Oct 29 '12 at 22:19

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

As users read in F pattern http://www.useit.com/alertbox/reading_pattern.html I would suggest you place all the filters in a column on the left side. And make the filters fixed so they would always appear on the left. Salesforce mock-up

sorry for terrible mock-up :)

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that makes so much sense, thank you –  Ralph Oct 19 '12 at 17:40

I think there's not much to be done here, the filters area is very explicit as it is, easy to find and understand, if you know which filters are used the most then you can present a simple form with an advanced filtering option to clear some space, or maybe start grouping them in accordion style, which also clears space and provides order.

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Great point about consolidating into the advanced section the least used filters. For the accordion styles any chance you have a example image somewhere? I've searched around and the only options are more menu-centric and I'm having trouble figuring out how the filter accordion view would look –  Ralph Oct 18 '12 at 5:10
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Sorry for the late response, I was thinking something like this accordion menu viralpatel.net/blogs/create-accordion-menu-jquery but grouping filters inside of it instead of links, this could help provide order and some context to the filtering area as well as clearing some space cause the filters are not always shown until the accordion is opened. regards –  Fernando Lee Oct 19 '12 at 22:32
    
Thank you, this just what I needed! –  Ralph Oct 20 '12 at 3:39
    
I'm glad it was usefull good luck Ralph! –  Fernando Lee Oct 24 '12 at 17:18

I agree the filters are easy to use and understand, the only suggestion I'd make is organise them either alphabetically or match the ordering of the table headers below.

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great suggestion, thanks –  Ralph Oct 19 '12 at 17:41

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