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I have a dashboard for an internal web application in my company. I have 4 charts and labeled combobox filters related to these charts. The user can select a specific value in the combobox or select all of them (by default).

Here is a quick wireframe :

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

Some of these filters are cascading ("Domain" -> "Service" -> "Sector"). But the user can select a specific a specific "Service" or "Sector" event if he doesn't know the "Domain". "Sourcing" and "Profiles" are independent and "Line" defines one specif domain, service and sector.

I'm a bit confuse with these filters. I don't know how to display them and the cascading effect can create difficult situations for the user, that's why I put a 'reset' button (i.e. back back to the default statement).

By the way, my company asks me to add more filters again. Some of them are global and independent (like "Sourcing"), others can cascade again. I also need to add a "Designation" filter, which is the same than "Line" but with another typology (for different users), and may be some checkboxes...

Well, I think users will be lost with all these filters and don't know how to properly display them. How can I improve my UI ? Can I use some "filters patterns" ?

  • Have you quantified what your users' goals are? Or do you have any idea how they generally behave in the app? The suggestion that "your company" is asking you to "add more filters" doesn't sound very user centric. Interfaces like this end up getting overbaked and confusing. A good solution can be to present users with what they will need and use most often, and make additional (more complex, or edge case) functionality available but hidden. That approach is more challenging than simply adding more filters, so more filters is what we usually end up with. – dennislees Mar 24 '14 at 15:05
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I totally agree with dennislees' comment. What I want to add is, it seems to me that you do not have a clear 'user scenario' or 'set of requirements'. If you ask the analyst, or the person who is making the requests, to prepare a set of scenarios and requirements, then work on it together for 1,5; you will be able reach a clear hierarchy of filters as well as the goals. One more tip, advanced filtering is a good option for this kind of situation. Once you know what your main filters are (around 4-6 filters) then you can group them all, and put the rest in advanced filtering.

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