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I'm currently struggling with the design of a table that would allow the user to select rows/items from a filtered/unfiltered table (probably with a standard checkbox column) and then still keep this selection when the search or filters of the table gets changed.

On top of that "shopping cart" management (add or remove items, or clear the selection), there will be some specific batch actions that can be applied to the selected items; like adding all of them to a group, having those entries deleted (not from the selection, but from the system) and so on.

I considered using a tab that shows a table with the selected rows:

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But that is a no-go, since we already use tabs like this to, for example, separate entries by a specific type (something like "current tasks" from "done tasks").

Right now I'm fiddling with a bar on top of the title row that expands and replaces the "full list" table:

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I'm not really happy with this, since the position of the bar will probably confuse the users on what they are seeing on the table and how it relates to that bar.

Using the bar on the bottom is also off the table (pun intended), since we use infinite scroll on tables (that can easily have hundreds of entries) and the navigation buttons (like "next-step") already sit on a fixed bar on the bottom of the page.

I think that's it. If anyone can help with examples or ideas, that will be greatly appreciated.

Edit 1: I evolved the "parallel table" idea a bit and I think I'm getting somewhere:

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Maybe have a “show selected only (2)” toggle on the top. Works the same as the tab proposed.

Or, if you incorporate column sorting, sorting by selected is another option.

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  • Yeah, I think showing the number of selected items on the top is the start of the path; but I'm not really for sorting by selected, since our users will be working with tables with hundreds of entries, both selected and unselected. I will make an edit now to show where I'm at on the "parallel table" solution. Oct 15, 2020 at 9:34
  • One issue with the collapsible table is (1) the introduction of a new interaction (delete) and (2) the perceived notion duplicate rows. Checkboxes alone are simple because they are selected or unselected. The trash icon implies the user is deleting the item from the database. This might create confusion. As for duplicate rows, the rows in the collapsible table might be perceived as duplicates rather than the same. This is because there are 2 instances of the row in 2 different tables with 2 different formats. Oct 15, 2020 at 11:00
  • I think filtering would be fine for your solution. Try to keep the table simple and consistent to avoid confusion. Test with your users to see what they think. Oct 15, 2020 at 11:02
  • I agree about the trash can icon. Maybe something "lighter" (like a left pointing arrow) might be better. I didn't want to use the checkbox on this table, since unselecting them would make the row disappear from under the users cursor, which isn't nice. The filtering is another beast entirely for this solution. You can check the issue on my other question at ux.stackexchange.com/questions/134885/… The question here is having a "permanent" selection that stays on regardless of changes to filters. Oct 15, 2020 at 11:11
  • The collapsible table is adding needless complexity (trash can icons, arrow icons, duplicate rows, how to move rows, etc). Oct 15, 2020 at 11:16

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