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In store maps/ordering items we all display filters which would allow the user to filter the results (may be it stores or airlines/items) based on his needs. The problem here is user may set a filter and may come back again to our app to do the search and they may forget that the filter has been applied and might be confused why limited results are displayed.

To over come that:

  1. We see lot of apps putting a tick mark or a sign to indicate filter has been applied on the filter button, but how many people see that?
  2. We can throw an alert but in a case but it works in case only where there are no stores found, if there are say 10 stores and filter reduces to 5, we may not be able to show all the 10 stores to the user in this case.
  3. clear the filter after a particular session, not sure whether it is a great idea.

Please let us know your thoughts on how to effectively handle filter so that user is aware the filter is applied and that is the reason. It should be soft and at the same time it should bring users attention. Whether clearing the filter would be a great thought after every session.

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Have you any screenshots of your app? Is the user filters more like permanent settings? How many filters do you have? –  Alexey Kolchenko Jun 24 '13 at 15:50
    
Its a concept that i am thinking. I have around 10 filter items –  Santhosh Jun 24 '13 at 16:23

3 Answers 3

Screen space permitting I would always inform the user which filters are currently applied. On mobile due to space issues this is trickier.

Solution: One solution would be to provide an indication when ANY filters are applied. This doesn't provide as much information but would potentially take up much less room (than showing all the applied filters). The user could then interact tapping/clicking this link to bring up all the currently applied filters. There are plenty of elegant ways to do this on mobile.

See example first screen with filters second tapping "filters applied": enter image description here

IF you are going to reset or clear the filter, you need to keep the user informed.

EDIT for Santhosh: I hate to say it again but it depends: Would wifi etc be a decision making factor for the user? What the user is likely to want is to know the closest stores. A search by location and results containing a quick overview of nearest stores with a key of store features may be better suited? Unless you have a high density of stores or the users are likely to want to travel a filter on these sorts of options seems overkill.

Have a look at how other sites handle this. Similar functionality can be found on hotel searching sites, Such as Tripadvisor: tripadvisor filters

I am filtering by ammenities -> restaurants here.

I did notice in their mobile version I dont think they show the advanved filters: tripadvisor mobile

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This Filters applied is a very soft message and only thing I am afraid is it might miss users attention. –  Santhosh Jun 24 '13 at 16:25
    
With the right visual styling it could be given more emphasis. Theres always a chance the users could miss it, but I believe if you 1)positioned it correctly 2)had the right visual design and 3)right text on it - Then they would be hard pressed to miss it. –  Sheff Jun 24 '13 at 16:29
    
Just curious, do you feel clearing it would be a bad idea –  Santhosh Jun 24 '13 at 16:35
    
I think it depends on the context: Consider what you are filtering; User expectation; Current standards in the area you are working. Clearing it without informing the user feels wrong, but would have to understand your specific situation to be able to give a more precise answer. –  Sheff Jun 25 '13 at 9:33
    
Assuming a case like displaying store locations what would be your thought. The filter options would be like store has Wifi,accepts online payment etc., all are related to store features. Say if user filters on his previous visit like only wifi stores and if he is in a new location and when he opens the store list would seem empty or less stores displayed. –  Santhosh Jun 25 '13 at 16:14

We've tried two approaches.

  1. Include a label with the filtered results eg. 10 items found for "blue", "shirts".

  2. Include a checkbox for "keep my filters".

I preferred 1 because we also include a clear button to remove filters

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I have encountered a funnel sign for the indication “filtered”, and I notice it. You may put the funnel sign and the phrase “filtered”. Maybe some user will be puzzled, but once s/he as understood s/he will be able to do what s/he wants.

A contrario, clearing the filters every time would not be a good idea. This would be misleading, and would irritate the users who would have to always redo the filters again and again. Stupid machine, can't you understand what I have already told you 10 times ?! → Bad user experience.

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