I am designing a view that will display a lot of data that can be filtered. But when there is a new user that view will be empty, there will be no data. I am thinking if in that case, filters should be active or disabled (button APPLY FILTERS will be disabled). For example, if the dropdown can be expanded and a user can see the options available.

  • Hi Anna, filters reduce data sets. So initially all data should be shown, and then filters are used to narrow the data set down to what is relevant for the user. Sep 22 at 14:34
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    Keep the filters enabled and leave the conclusion to the user that there is no data to be filtered. But it depends on the design how clear that is for users. Can you add some images?
    – jazZRo
    Sep 22 at 16:26

1 Answer 1


Personally, I always lean to towards keeping functionality around even when it doesn't do anything (assuming the functionality isn't confusing in that context).

A potential use case for your application could be someone giving a tutorial of your system to someone else. The filters are just as useful to a data set of 0 as they are to a data set of 1, but disabling it on a data set of 0 will force the person giving the tutorial about the filters to have to add a single item to the data set before they can continue their tutorial.

Also, to my point of the filters being just as useful to a data set of 0 as they are to a data set of 1, that implies that the threshold of 0 before being able to filter would technically be arbitrary as there's no compelling reason to choose 0 over 1 or vice versa to enable the filters. Whenever a restriction seems arbitrary, I err on the side of less restrictions.

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