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We have a simple table which shows paginated information across many pages. We allow the user to filter a column using a text box and another column using a drop-down.

If a user either performs a search using the text box or the drop-down, how should the search behave when the page is re-loaded?

Should it retain the search criterion or should it reset?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

If on page reload you are still showing the filtered results then YES the search box needs to reflect that as the searchbox contains the state of the page.

On another note it's also a common and important feature in applications to reflect state within the url like so: https://www.google.com/#q=yoursearch

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+1 for mentioning the search url. If search results can be accessed via a url, that answers the question right away. If no search criteria in the url then you have to make assumptions about what the user wants and it surely won't be correct 100% of the time. –  Roger Attrill Mar 22 '13 at 11:04

It's an interesting question. I think this is very context dependant, what are the items that are being listed and more importantly how is the addition of more items handled? If you're showing a list that is being continuously updated you want the user to be able to update that list using any criteria for filtering that they may have added. In this case you definitely want the filtering settings to be present after a page reload. In this situation the user most probably wants access to the latest addition of items of the list that they have in front of them.

However I would argue that if you display something that is static, a list that will never be updated (like a table of content for a book) it would in my mind be OK to remove filtering settings on reload. I feel that in that situation the user is probably looking for a way to go back to the initial state of the content, looking at the whole rather than the filtered down part that they're currently observing.

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