I'm working on an application with faceted navigation. The application will be visited often by the same group of users. A certain combination of checkboxed facets are selected by default. I would like to allow the user to change that default selection so that if they perform a certain search often they don't have to change the selection each time.

For example, assume the application allows you to see daily food prices at the local food stand:

Food stand pricing application

When you open the application, it defaults to selecting fruit (I know from research that most of my users will only use the application to purchase fruit). However, I would like to allow them to change this default. My current idea is to use a gear icon to indicate facet settings. When clicked, it shows possible defaults the application allows:

Default facet selection - fruits

If the user only ever purchases vegetables, they can change the application default by selecting the vegetable radio button:

Default facet selection - vegetables

Returning to the original question, is there a better experience to allow users to set default facet selections in a faceted navigation? Is there a best practice?

  • 1
    Is there a reason why you are using category options in the Default Selections interaction? What if someone wants to have a default of {Apples, Bananas, Carrots}, maybe because they run a juice stand?
    – Erics
    Jan 22, 2014 at 5:00
  • 2
    As @Erics pointed out those options may be conflicting. I'd suggest to simply remember the last choices. If I checked Apples & Bananas today, let them checked for me tomorow.
    – Gabin
    Jan 22, 2014 at 10:09

1 Answer 1


I see your set defaults interaction is using a category system (probably because you don't want to burden that popup dialog with the full list of options, and a category system is a neat way to summarise the options).

However, what if the defaults that someone wants doesn't match any of your categories? A juice stand operator might want to have defaults of {apples, bananas, carrots, ginger}, and that crosses possibly three different categories (fruits, vegetables, herbs). Sure, they could select the "All" option, but then they'd be presented with prices for Onions, and I for one don't want my local juice stand vendor to start getting ideas.

Also, are tomatoes a fruit or a vegetable, is ginger a herb or a fruit? These are not issues you want to surprise your users with, which you inevitably will if you impose a category system on them and how you categorise things don't quite match up with how they categorise things.

I don't know of any "best practice", but one simple solution to your design challenge is to offer a simple "Set current selections as default" button.

The interaction is then a simple click, possibly with a simple confirmation dialog.

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