1

I'm working on an effort to create a set of filters for search results.

One of the UX issues I'm currently working out is whether or not to place an "All" option as an item in the filters.

For example:

Filter by price

[ x ] All
[   ] $1 - $10 
[   ] $10 - $20 
[   ] $20 - $30 
[   ] $30 - $40 

vs.

[   ] $1 - $10 
[   ] $10 - $20 
[   ] $20 - $30 
[   ] $30 - $40 

Is it understood that when no filters are selected, the user is looking at "all" or does this need to be made clear with the selection?

Any thoughts and examples would be appreciated.

3

In short: No

Most certan the reason you asking this question is ambiguity of controls on initial screen:

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

This ambiguity can be easily removed by replacing "search" idea (where you have to enter something to see results), with "filter" idea (where results are always displayed)

Initial screen / without filters

mockup

download bmml source

With filters:

mockup

download bmml source

  • the idea is that users will land on this results page after performing a search from the main nav-bar. – Aaron Benjamin Sep 18 '14 at 16:45
1

If you have a mandatory selection, you should have that 'All' option. If not, having it can still be useful, as selecting nothing might as well be understood as wanting no selection at all (iow, none of the listed options apply rather than all of themm in your sample that'd come out as >$40 for example).
If you want to stress that 'All' is the default, you should of course preselect it when first presenting the selection choice to the user, you shouldn't leave him wondering what you mean by having nothing selected at all and under the hood assuming that to mean 'All'.

1

The "All" option is often used as a quick way to select or deselect all.

  • while this is an easy mechanism to reset a value, is this the appropriate vehicle or would a reset button be more understood? – Aaron Benjamin Sep 18 '14 at 16:46
1

If you let them check all and check a value they get confused
What I have found works is a check all button that checks all values for them
If it is a long list and they want most they can check all and then uncheck
And give them an uncheck all button
Or a single clear button

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