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I am struggling to develop a general design that could better handle how to present 4k filters to users on a website, but not looking for e-commerce designs as the filters will also contain many filtering levels within.

The idea so far is to display all the filters in a left-side panel and the results would display to the right of it. But the left side pannel might end up being super long -- which is likely too overwhelming for users.

Any ideas?

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  • "...1K+ facets/filters..." "... how to present 4k filters..." 1-4 thousand filters...you need filters for your filters! Ideas come to mind: - categorize filters, search filters, filter filters, top filters, recent filters... Commented Jan 16, 2023 at 14:04

2 Answers 2

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categories could make sense as you mentioned you don't want to overwhelm your users, research activities like card sorting or tree jacking could assist with determining the IA and labels of the groups that make sense to your users.

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Unless there's a specific reason to have 1000 (let alone 4000) filters, you'll probably never need it. And if a user sees 4000 filters, this will cause extreme cognitive load and make the interface unusable.

So I think what you're looking for is a faceted search like most e-commerce sites have. There are many filters there, but they're only displayed after a search is made and is relevant to it. This will help you have a more realistic filtering and sorting option, with probably no more than 5 or 6 filter criteria with a few variables each.

See a faceted search example for Amazon, I searched for "studio monitor" and it provided me with lots of results then 10 filters, each one with a different amount variables, the biggest one has 10, the smallest ones are binary (on/off checkboxes). And we're talking about Amazon, which obviously has thousands of filters, but they're shown based on searched term.

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You can also make the search more predictive and path based. Example:

Type "Par "

Results will be displayed like:

Cities / Paris 
Travel / Hotels / Paris 
Travel / Restaurants / Paris 
Lifestyle / Shopping / Brands / Paris Hilton 
Automotive / Car Parts

and so on. This helps your users visualize paths that pre-filter the content so they can easily see what kind of relationship exists between the term they're searching for and its parent terms. In this case, if I search for restaurants in Paris, I don't need any of the other options.

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