In a report that shows factories' performance data, the filters list out the factories to extract data from.

by default, all factories are selected which is useful to see an overview. however, when it comes to going into detail, users will need to select only 1-3 factories.

i'm faced with a choice of

  1. showing all, but user needs to unselect
  2. having non-selected, user needs to select what they want to focus on.

2 is not really an option, but option 1 is not optimal. whats would be a way to make it more user-friendly?

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3 Answers 3


"having non-selected, user needs to select what they want to focus on" is not really an option

It is an option though, and I'd argue it's the best one.

Not having a pre-defined selection should not mean that no results will be visible; instead, checking 0 checkboxes should communicate that the user has no preference, and therefore all results should be visible. Checking 0 checkboxes should be identical in function to checking all of them.

Remove the explicit "All" option, and have that be the default on an empty selection. Only when the user selects at least one option, should your application recognize the selection and apply filtering.

In short: If the user selects no Factory Names, remove that specific filter and assume the user wants to see results matching all Factory Names.


You can take a hint from google travel on this, and they use a combo of a toggle, with the default 'All' selected. You could also make a version of this with the 'All' as a checkbox

If the user has any interaction with the individual items, the toggle disables, and the checked items are the filtered ones. enter image description here

How do I quickly select only one factory?

You also have the ability to select 'Only' with this pattern, as you hover over an individual item.

enter image description here

and notice how for space constraints, the value changes to the first selected item: [Aegean +3], with an X to clear right from the control without opening the menu:


How is option 2 not an option?

Option 1 is not a good solution. If you have 22 selection options, having to deselect 21 select options to get the one you need is way more work than having none preselected, to begin with.

What could be helpful here is to have a select all/deselect all option within the dropdown. Depending on the number of selection options, a search bar within the dropdown could be helpful as well.

Prepopulating/preselecting data should only be used when there is a good reason to believe that it would make the user's task easier. Otherwise, it creates more trouble than it solves.

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