we are trying to build a pretty typical filter for a list of items (in a Mobile app) which does also allow "Select All" for that particular filter category. The added issue we have though is that this filter may contain a very long list of items (let's say 200 names, for example). To help with that we have decided to be able to "sub-filter" the list using a textbox. What I am wondering now is how to best make this work with the "Select All" toggle.

So let's say that the "Select All" is not toggled, the user goes to the filter and sees a list of 200 names. He writes a few letter in the search box and the list of 200 now becomes a list of 5, he then toggle "select all" -> I think this should ONLY select all those remaining 5 names.

Now they remove the text in the box, the 5 names stay selected BUT I believe the select all should now be OFF, as many other names are present and not selected.

The bit I am not sure: Let's say the user, from the long list, selects 5 names, then they add something in the search box and the list of names is reduced down to 3 names, which are already selected as they are part of the 5, should the select all toggle be ON or OFF? I believe it should be ON, if we follow the principle that the toggle follow the status of the currently filtered list, but I am open to ideas... Maybe a list of items as a filter which in itself has a filter has a better way to be designed?

  • I don't see the benefit of presenting a list over 50, maybe less. What do you think about when filtering by name first presenting the name search field then start populating the results list upon someone typing in it? Commented Feb 28, 2023 at 21:09
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    "... selects 5 names, then they add something in the search box and the list of names is reduced down to 3 name..." I agree, ON for the 3 names, but not the two that dropped off. Ideally, if someone starts backspacing the old selections are restored. Commented Feb 28, 2023 at 21:11
  • Not directly related to the question but out of interest/as a potential input. If there is Select all is there also Deselect all? Commented Feb 28, 2023 at 22:36
  • @bloodyKnuckles The benefits are 1) easier programming :) , 2) if the user decides to scroll down rather than start filtering no reload of pages (with potential scroll delays) is necessary, 3+) ... something that didn't come into my mind yet ... Commented Feb 28, 2023 at 23:48
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    What is the benefit of having "select all?" Selecting everything in a filter category is the same as selecting nothing.
    – Chloe
    Commented Mar 1, 2023 at 0:03

1 Answer 1

  1. Select All to select just all filtered items sounds natural for this use case but it redefines the well-known wording Select All for Ctrl+A |+A available in all GUIs of PC OSs I'm aware of: KDE, Gnome, Windows, macOS. I guess that's close to 100 % of all Desktop/Laptop/Notebook users in countries with Latin script worldwide. That's bad.

    Ctrl+A in Excel, for instance, selects the entire active sheet including hidden rows or columns. It's the same when a filter is applied to a column.

    Select [all] filtered wouldn't raise this issue.

  2. I support @bloodyKnuckles comment to the question: Select All ON for items currently visible only and with restoring previous selections on 🠄            .

  3. If that fits to your use case:

    I'd find it advantageous if there were ⭐ Favourites, followed by MRU symbol MRUs at the top of the list when presenting it initially (or after a Deselect All for that matter) so that these can be selected without prior typing.

    Whether the ⭐s and MRU symbols matching the filter input should stay at the top when filtering is started depends on the use case and on the users' expectations/behaviour. Perhaps selectable with options in the app's settings:

    • ☐  ⭐ Favourites always on top
    • ☐  MRU symbol Recently selected always on top
                (below Favourites on top)
    •           Keep recently selected for   nnn  │ ▼▲ days

PS: I just noticed that the leftwards arrow medium triangle arrowhead for Backspace is shown correctly in Win10/FF ???.?.? but not in openSUSE Tumbleweed 20230304/FF 109.0.1.

  • No one is talking about redefining the system-level shortcut - This is clearly a contextual selection. "Select All" is a widely recognised pattern that users have no problem understanding in context with lists. That said, I do agree that adding 'select all filtered' (or something similar) may help avoid confusion in the situation that OP describes. Commented Mar 2, 2023 at 9:36
  • You're right. That can be misunderstood. I'm going to precise that. Thanks for the hint. Commented Mar 2, 2023 at 10:44

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