We are implementing a semicheckbox in a filter group, but, We don't know which is the standard behaviour after clicking the mother filter.

Should we uncheck or check the children?

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5 Answers 5


I would suggest going with option B.

The reason for this is that it is being used as a filter and the most likely reason for the user clicking the parent is to reset the filter back to a "include all" state (which is having them all checked).

In fact it is unlikely that the user will ever want to deselect all of them anyway, as that would cause the filter to produce no results. However, you should still support allowing the user to move from "checked" to "unchecked" as this will support the cases where the user simply wants to select one or two of the child filter options quickly.


Users might or might not remember what it does, so it doesn't matter but...

Consistency is key when people do expect it to work exactly the same as last time or as other controls.

Don't leave users in the dark as it might not do what the person was hoping or expecting. People might have to click twice to get the desired result. This gets even more annoying when each click means reloading data from a server for example making the process slow and tedious.

Is a checkbox the best option? Consider using buttons; no possible wrong expectations or double click needed to get the desired result:

Select: [All] [None]


I would say that it doesn't really matter since both are valid and found in several different tools.

A user should adapt easily by trying it with no real risk for them behind that. Moreover the A and B would have the exact same result for your user if I'm right? It's filters, if you don't filter anything, you want to show everything, if you include all the filters, you want to show everything too, right?

Also, it's most certainly 1 click more in both case if the user expect the opposite reaction than the one you are giving to them. Let me provide details:

  • You check some Children filters
  • Then you decide to check all clicking the Mother Filter
  • What should happen? I don't know but: It checks everything.
  • I was expecting the opposite, I can re-check the mother and boom, all uncheck.

To wrap up, I feel you and the need to have a precise answer here, but I think both can be expected and both are valid, but picking one instead of another solution is not really a big deal… Totally a personal opinion though, better is to test with some of your end users, of course 😊


I have seen both done, and both are equally valid.

I'd consider the workflow, and see which is the more likely scenario for what the user wants to do:

For example: User expands an installer, and the bare minimum is checked. Am I more likely to want to add the extra features, or remove them all for this module.

Account creation: Does the average user want to sign up under "You can use my information" to:

  • Send updates about my order(s)
  • Send deals
  • Send Daily specials
  • Send me the newsletter

If the most likely scenario is the user wants to uncheck them all, then make that the first scenario.

And even if you get it wrong for one customer, two clicks is still better than 4/5.


I agree with other answers that either option A or option B is valid. But in some cases, this could highly depend on the

  • Filter types
  • Device type
  • Page type
  • User

Read the analytics based on the above factors and decide it. Usually, the result will be closer to 50-50 but in rare cases, it could go to near 80-20. By that, one can decide which option to choose.

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