I am building a user control where the user can set a bunch of filters and then display a report based on those filters.

Example of reports:

  • sum of sales grouped by customer,
  • detailed list of sales for a customer,
  • sum of sales grouped by salesperson,
  • ...

Example of filters:

  • date from,
  • date to,
  • customer,
  • salesperson,
  • ...

This is just an example, in my project there are many filters and even more reports. The tricky thing is that reports need different filters. For example, the report 'sum of sales grouped by customer' need only the 'customer' filter, and 'detailed list of sales for a customer' needs the 'customer', 'date from' and 'date to' filters.

I am wondering how to design the interface for this user control. I see two options:

  1. All filters on one side and the list of reports on the other side. User can set filters, select report and display it. What I don't like about this is that the user doesn't know easily which filters are needed for a report. Here I could enable/disable filters based on selected report (if the user selects the first report, only 'customer' filter would be enabled, and for second report the 'date from' and 'date to' filters would be enabled also).

  2. Each report in own tab or some other container. When the user selects a report, only relevant filters are displayed.

I'm not a fan of either of those two options... any other ideas?

2 Answers 2


You should only display the filters that are necessary for each report type. Anything else will lead to confusion, support questions, and possibly even bug reports from users (e.g. "I set a value in this filter and it had no effect").


My presumption here is that for the sake of having everything lighting fast you want to show it all in one screen.

But logic is each of your reports is based on specific filters, so I think its perfectly fine for user to;

a) Have one clearly designed main menu with being able to select report
b) On top of report screen, he can select values for filters, result is shown right away below

  • 1
    Yeaaaaah... the more I think about it the more I realize that my second option is the best for the user. I probably don't like it because it is more work for me... lame excuse I know :)
    – sventevit
    Sep 21, 2018 at 11:13
  • Done something similar in the past. Have menu of reports. When a report is selected, page appears with relevant filters. Once filters selected, results appear...
    – Z Z
    Dec 20, 2018 at 16:12

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