I am dealing with a large list of items which can be filtered as well as searched. For the user, I think it would be better for the user if search was a global search for every list item, but I am not sure how the filter's would be affected by the search. Here is a rough idea of my current wireframe:

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My point is that, in a situation where the "status" filter is "online" and the user searches "blackberry", should the search still show the blackberry item even though it doesn't fall under the "online" filter? What is the reasoning for one way or the other?

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2 Answers 2


When users are filtering a data set (especially large sets), they expect the filter to do its job at all times: the promise of just showing me what fits a specific criteria that I've defined.

Keep users informed about search

A common pattern is to always show an informative 'no results' message. You can add to this the one-click ability to clear the filters, which would keep the search active and surface any results outside of the filter:

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This informs them of:

  • The exact search term they entered
  • Search is active
  • How many results match (none in your case)
  • That there are currently filters engaged (and the ability to clear them in one-click)
  • 3
    Excellent suggestion! May I add that it could also be beneficial to place the search bar above the filters, so it becomes more prominent in its hierarchy. The search bar would be the 'main' filter, and the others become secondary. In this case it might not be necessary, but I can imagine situations where it would be useful. Mar 7, 2023 at 8:52
  • 17
    I would also add a visual cue to the active filters (e.g. coloring them with a blue border). And you can make the "no results" message more informative "No results found for search "Blackberry" with filters "Online" and "Registered".
    – Falco
    Mar 7, 2023 at 9:31
  • 2
    @Falco yes, having the same appearance for the title and the value of a filter field is an issue. Old-school would probably be to always have the filter title displayed above the dropdown, and blank or "(select)" or something in the dropdown. IMO that's more informative than replacing the title with the value, as the same value could appear in more than one field (e.g. if there was an operator called "Online")
    – Chris H
    Mar 8, 2023 at 10:25

The problem of searching and filtering a (large) list touches on (exploratory) Information Visualization and Information Retrieval. See for example about filters and dynamic queries.

From this point of view, one possible way to "solve" your problem is to give context: report not only the results of the query that pass the filter(s), but also report a summary of the results that fail the filter(s).

For (a crude) example: after the list of (filtered) results, add a line stating "and also 42 lines/results filtered out".

  • 2
    Good point, but just a tip for the future: the style/formatting of your text makes it unnecessarily hard to read. All the parentheses, quotation marks, italics etc. make it look chaotic. Sometimes less is more.
    – Big_Chair
    Mar 8, 2023 at 10:19

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