I'm looking for some guidance regarding automatically applying filters on behalf of the user. The project I'm working on is a simple graduate job search website. The search results page is very simple, which allows a user to enter a keyword and a location. Currently, there are only 3 filters (Full-time, Part-time, Flexi).

Behaviour 1) If a user enters a keyword, such as Part-time Accountant, and runs a search, the Part-time filter is not automatically enabled.

Behaviour 2) If a user runs a search for Developer, then actively applies the Part-time filter, this filter will remain selected for every subsquent search. So, if the user changes the keyword from Developer to Chef, the Part-time filter will remain checked.

I want to test automatically setting the Part-time filer if a user enters a keyword such as Part-time Accountant, but I'm not sure what should happen to that filter if the user then changes their keyword.


  1. User runs a search for Part-time cleaner: The system automatically enables the Part-time filter.
  2. User then changes their keyword to Cleaner

In this case, should the system automatically uncheck the filter, as it was the system that checked the filter, not the user? However, doing this would break the exisiting behaviour outlined above (Behaviour 2). My concern is that if the system automatically checks that filter, the user might not realise, so on subsequent searches that filter would always be applied, which could lead the system to serve irrelevant results to the user.

2 Answers 2


I can suggest one of my ideas here which I applied recently. Instead of enabling filter based on specific search keyword, UI(textbox where user is typing for search) should provide auto-fill suggestions based on those specific search keyword.

Taking your example,

  1. User runs a search for Part-time cleaner: The system should add this keyword in suggestion list since Part-time/Full-time are the filters.
  2. User then changes their keyword to Cleaner, System should suggest Part-time after Cleaner word. Now, it's users' choice to take that auto-fill suggestion in textbox or not.

This will help in a way that Search control is still with User hence no unwanted results.

I tried best to explain the idea.

Hope it helps. Thanks.


I wouldn't automatically apply filters for the user. It could be confusing when you enter some text and on the next screen a part of what you entered is missing. The filter controls should be clear enough that the user can intuitively use them.

If you want to prevent users from entering things like "Part-time" in the text input, I'd suggest you add a tooltip that appears above the dropdown when you detect phrases like "part". The tooltip then says something like "Looking for part-time jobs?". Use a tooltip with a built-in arrow for extra clarity.

Then when the user uses the dropdown to select a type of job, you automatically remove the detected phrase from the search input.


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