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I am building a web application with a product list with a big amount of filters.

For the filters, we use faceted filtering. This means that whenever the user clicks on a filter option, the rest of the results are being filtered as well to show only the options that are connected to the option selected.

Something like the following example.

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

The problems are:

  • The user cannot see all results except if they deselect everything
  • There is no connection shown between the filter 1 and 2, except when you select something. Is there any better way to show that?
  • Imagine that after you select Filter 1 option 1 and you finish your selection, you want to filter on Filter 1 option 2. But this option is not shown since your results are like the mockup no 3. What is the usual way that a user could find the Filter 1 option 2 since it is not there?
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    It works both ways? So options from Filter1 alter Filter2 and the other way round? – Alvaro May 19 '17 at 15:00
  • @Alvaro Yes, that is the idea. I am open to suggestions though. – Dimitra Miha May 19 '17 at 15:18
  • @UXResearch Because it is also important for the user to be able to refine their search, easier, by displaying only the available options. I am open for suggestions – Dimitra Miha May 19 '17 at 15:19
  • It sounds quite complex, I am trying to find a way to interpret the possibilities but without a real scenario.. Is there any chance you could share one? so it is easier to understand how options from one filter alter the other, specially when several options are selected. – Alvaro May 19 '17 at 15:29
  • @DimitraMiha I accidentaly erased my previous comment (Why wouldn´t you leave srceen 2 so they can select/unselect options at all times. Visibility is a very important aspect of a good UX design.) And I agree with Alvaro, a more specific example could allow us to offer more realistic suggestions. I don´t see how leaving all of the options visible at all times interferes with the ability to refine their search. You could disable the others to indicate clearly which filter fields are active – UX Research May 19 '17 at 15:44
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How about simply hiding the second column until the first choice has been made? I can't imagine a scenario where showing all the sub-filters straight away would benefit users (but knowing more about the specifics of what you're working on would help).

With faceted filtering, the goal usually is to allow users to navigate in different 'dimensions'. The top-level choice determines what path they are choosing. For example, on a news website, the first list would have things like:

Browse by...
- Country
- Area of interest
- Popularity

...without the sub-filters displayed. Once that first choice is made, they keep narrowing down the funnel.

Here is a great article that explains more about facets vs. filters: https://www.nngroup.com/articles/filters-vs-facets/

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