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I have a web app with a list of results that are filtered by date. By default, only the last 3 years of results are shown, but you can change the date filter to whatever range of dates you want. I also have a refresh button that will call the server to update the list.

Is it best to have the refresh button reset the user's selected date range for the filter or preserve it?

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Depends. I'd say yes, but then again I have too often had to refresh just because the filtering implementation didn't allow for removing a filter and losing all other stuff you have set just because you want to get rid of one, well, inconvenient doesn't quite express the exasperation felt. –  Marjan Venema Sep 18 '13 at 16:43
    
We only allow the user to filter by date right now. –  Brian Sep 18 '13 at 16:46
    
Is there another easy way to reset to the default date range? Is the purpose of refresh just to get new data from the server? –  norabora Sep 18 '13 at 17:39
    
@norabora is onto something. I think the question you need to answer is "Why and with what intention does a user refresh?" –  kontur Sep 18 '13 at 20:13

4 Answers 4

up vote 1 down vote accepted

If the data is changing rapidly enough that you want to "refresh" it (i.e., stock market prices or some other kind of data stream), then the answer is NO, you should not reset the user's filters, because the user is most likely intending to simply retrieve the most current data.

If this is not the case, perhaps a better name for this action would actually be "Reset Filters" (i.e., clear out all the filters and start from scratch). Note that you can have both of these actions available ("refresh" and "reset"), which will increase the clarity of your interface.

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I would not reset it.

The refresh button is a quite common pattern. The user expects that clicking it will simply refresh the data. Any additional functionality is confusing (unless the button is labeled "refresh and clear filters").

I'd provide an obvious option to remove the filter.

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Separate the concerns.

Have a tiny X or a Reset button beside the filter to explicitly reset it. And name the refresh button as Refresh Data or similar to remove any cause for ambiguity from the user's mind. In fact, since you have only one filter, you could do away with the refresh button altogether and auto-refresh the data upon change of the filter.

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It does auto-refresh when the filter is changed, the filtering happens via parameters on a server call. –  Brian Sep 18 '13 at 18:02

Don't do it!

As pointed out, refreshing is a common practice. Regardless whether or not your site loads content through ajax without refresh, you should not do it because it can cause some real pains for the user.

Additionally, take a look at what happens on other site! Youtube is a good example when it comes down to their search.

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A search is a sort of filter; now imagine you accidentally refreshed and how frustrated you'd be if you had to re-input that data in there. Instead, provide a clear way of, well... clearing the filter. :)

So in short, do not!

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