We are building a web application, where there is a data table and the user can filter it in order to find the elements that they are looking for. After getting some feedback from my users in my first design, they want to have the functionality "Contains text" inside the each filter.

Current Filter

Are there any guidelines on that issue? Could I combine it better with the search function? Are there any best practices?

For your information, there should be also a select all/unselect all button inside the filter.

  • You mean a switch between "exact match" and "contains"? Apr 10 '17 at 14:16
  • I think so, but could you please explain more? @DominikOslizlo Apr 10 '17 at 14:22
  • I mean: is it a switch that would let Users decide if the exact string should be matched within the filter options (e.g. filtering by "as" would only leave "Asus" in this list) or a text contained within the string (in this case, "as" would leave "Asus", "Blu Basic" and "Yapas" in the list). Or, you want to add an option that would display all the records including any brand and skip those for which this field is empty (in this case). Apr 10 '17 at 14:29
  • I'm a bit confused. How would "contains text" be beneficial? Ultimately they have to filter down the brand (or not at all). Why were they asking for that functionality? What were they having difficulty with?
    – Majo0od
    Apr 10 '17 at 14:52
  • It is a little bit confusing @Majo0od. More I think about it, the more confusing it gets. Maybe the "Contains text" can be solved by the 2nd case of Dominik - a text contained within the string (in this case, "as" would leave "Asus", "Blu Basic" and "Yapas" in the list). - and the addition of select all button. Then, they can achieve what they want. Would there be a better solution? Apr 10 '17 at 14:59

As the designer of your application, just because your users are saying one thing, doesn't always mean they mean exactly that.

More often than not, users tend to say one thing, but do another. Don't ask them what they don't like. Instead, watch them and then have them speak out their mind.

The reason why I bring this up is because if you allow a "contains text" functionality, this will cause far more frustration for the users:

What if they just type A because they want Apple and Asus, but it will enable all As. They will have to start unchecking everything.

What I understood your users are saying is that the interface isn't easy to use. Rather than hiding brands and devices, why not allow those filters to be exposed always?

When I worked at a well known company's web team, we had filters that were thrown all the way below the fold to the right which made our user base not know we had filters and those who used it were unhappy with the way it worked. So we redesigned it to be on the top of the page (ever present) and revealed the most used filter so that they could automatically click it without extra work.

Why not go towards that approach and reveal your filters immediately with a "save filters" button that implements all their filters? Try that and see what happens, because my gut instinct is telling me that your users feel like your current filter system isn't easy to use.

  • I will accept your answer because it has some very good points and made me think further to find a good solution that I should test with them :) Apr 11 '17 at 7:18
  • Happy to help @DimitraMiha
    – Majo0od
    Apr 11 '17 at 11:35

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