Often, in facetted filtering experiences, on mobile, the filters are tucked offscreen. To indicate that the current view is being filtered, often the filter button is presented with a number indicating how many active filters are applied. ex: [ Filters (2) ]

This number is inconsistent from retailer to retailer. It can be either:

  • the number of selected filter values
  • the number of filter categories with filter values selected in them.

Amazon represents the number of filter categories selected:

  • Brand: Intel & AMD
  • Shipping: Free
  • Cores: 2, 4 & 8


Walmart represents the number of filter values selected:

  • Brand: Apple & Sony
  • Shipping: Free
  • Colour: Grey, Pink, White


As far as I'm concerned - the biggest usability gain comes from having anything indicating an active filter state - the exact count isn't that essential.

Pro Filter Category

  • Numbers past a certain point don't really matter
  • It may be more important to know the number of categories, rather than values
  • When you open the filter button, you tend to see categories - tap 3, see 3 selected things

Pro Filter Value

  • Every time the filter changes, the number is guaranteed to change
  • It's a simple sum and may match user mental models.

From my audit around the web, it's about 50/50 and I guess either one works, but is there any other arguments that can work in favour of one or the other approach?

2 Answers 2


From my experience, whenever I tested this functionality I learned that the number in the Filter button is always expected to represent the number of filters applied.

When the user reaches the list/grid of products they usually expect a sort and a filter button. The filter button has no number next to it initially. After one filter is applied, the number (1) is displayed inside the button. I thought this was pretty much standard by now.


I think more useful information is how effective was current filter, i.e. what is percentage of found results relatively to total unfiltered amount. For example:

Filtered 10%


Filter (10%)


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