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To make it easier for the user to find the right form, a category filter and a search should be offered. There are 9 categories. Currently, a maximum of 3 forms are assigned to a category.

How should the category filtering and the search work in combination? I see two options.

  1. AND-combination: the user can filter and additionally search.
  2. OR-combination: the user can either filter or search. This has the consequence that for example the user enters a search term and then filters. Then the search would be reset to empty.

Which is a good solution that does not confuse the user?

2 Answers 2

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Is the search also a filter? If neither filter nor search term are present, is the entire list displayed?

If this is the case, then the search field is nothing more than a second filter. So both inputs should be taken into account.

So the SEARCH and the filter are logically AND and the categories logically OR. Something like this: 'Searchterm' AND (Cat1 OR Cat2)

In any case, make it clear to the user that the list is limited by the filter on the one hand and by the search term on the other. You can do this, for example, by displaying a pill for each filter, which can then also be deleted.

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i tried to illustrate your request into flows. The previous speakers have already made good suggestions, so i keep it short but visual.

So here we go:

Search AND filter Search and filter

  • the user has the option to decide if the search field will be used or nif the they start with applying the filter right away
  • Different user preferences are covered by having both options in one overlay
  • Pre-filtering the categories allows the users to narrow down the options to a desired subset
  • The applied filter is placed above the search to distinguish between applied and non-applied items

Search or filter - search flow Search OR filter - search flow

  • the search allows to find associated forms fast, but only single items in a list without a specific category
  • The user needs to reset the list to display all list items again
  • I think i would show the list of search results regardless of the filters, but thats up to you to decide

enter image description here Search OR filter - filter flow

  • The user needs to read through all categories to find the preferred one
  • You need to decide if you still want to combine search and filter options on top after search results are applied, the filter might be obsolete for the small number of items

Conclusion Having played through the flows the Search AND filter option seems to be the more convincing one. Why?

  • Users are free to choose how to continue, whether they start applying the filter first or narrowing down the filters by search
  • The applied filter is visible, but still the search can be used on the other filter items
  • If the option is in an overlay the users have a better focus on both options without getting distracted by the form list items

But as my previous speakers already stated - a user test can bring clarity to find the right solution. Also keep in mind technical restrictions.

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