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We're using a faceted search to get good results:

Keyword search (on homepage) -> result page -> filter results

Question: Should the filters be reset when the user does a new keyword search on the result page?

My thoughts so far:

Pro: There's always the possibility that the user just doesn't get that there are still active filters.

Con: It's likely that the filters don't change between searches so resetting them would be annoying for the user.

My approach would be to not reset them but make it visually as clear as possible that there are active filters. If he goes back to the homepage I think it's clear that the filters have to be reset.

Do you agree? Other thoughts?


Update: Very rough mockup on how the result page looks (requested by Matt):

enter image description here

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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I've had to beat this topic into the ground with the current product I'm working on. By what you have have stated, it looks like you're on the right path. I would not reset the filters automatically, as this could cause a lot of frustration to users.

Clicking a reset action > re-entering filter criterion.

Here are a few tidbits that I have learned along the road that may help:

  • If there are multiple fields in the filter or the filter can be hidden include a global reset
  • If there is a global reset, have this automatically re-load the data
  • If the filter can be hidden, add a global clear that will only clear the fields, and not re-load the data

Additionally, to comment on your "Con"; there are ways to point out that filter criteria have been applied. Couple this with a reset or clear, and it becomes fairly obvious that the keyword search has been filtered, and that there is an easy way to remove the filter.

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Thanks for the additional hints, I'll go with this solution. –  Phil Jun 9 '11 at 8:17
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I agree, you should persist the filter settings unless you return to the home page. I have often searched for something on a site and have had to change or refine the search term, where my other requirements have remained the same. For example the other day I was on the Home Depot site searching for axes and axe handles within a certain price range. I ended up finding results from the search terms: axe, log splitter, wedge, axe handle. While searching these terms, my budget requirement remained the same.

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