I'm working on a photo app that lets a user search through their photos. It currently has these filter types - category, date range, and favorites. A user can pick one or all of these filter types.

Should a user have to press enter when using the filter?

Currently, the search box itself has a Search button (we are not looking to changing this for now). Will this create inconsistencies if we were to eliminate the Add filter button? - ie: The search box has Search button, but filter will auto-populate results?

  • The search should run either by pressing enter or after a set delay(usually 1 second after the user stops typing).
    – Nick
    Commented Jun 9, 2020 at 20:09
  • Thanks, @NickLeBlanc. So are you saying that having a Search button is better? (But of course, also enabling search by pressing enter.)
    – M Bo
    Commented Jun 9, 2020 at 20:21

1 Answer 1


Elaborating a little bit, one thing you should consider when designing experiences is the Jakob’s Law.

Users spend most of their time on other sites. This means that users prefer your site to work the same way as all the other sites they already know.

When working with filters(and anything), the best approach is to check out how other similar services or experiences work out, this guarantees that the user has minimal effort in learning how to use your experience, that in consequence, will increase your experience adherence since it'll be a pleasant and easy flow, since the user already knows how things work. In your case, you're working with a picture album.

On Google Photos, clicking on a date filter immediately triggers the selection: enter image description here

The same applies for Adobe Bridge:
enter image description here

So the consensus is that, selecting a filter immediately triggers it, this also is a good usability practice since it takes a layer of complexity for achieving a result:

Wanting to filter a list > Selecting filters > Manually triggering the filters > Results

Wanting to filter a list > Selecting filters > Manually triggering the filters > Results

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