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Background A user is presented a panel with a big listing. There is a default view, but the user can also filter the listing to refresh the "panel". There are two sequential and almost dependent filtering options (E.g: filter by "flower type", then filter by "color"), and the selection will consist on checkboxes.

Every time the user enters the panel, s/he is able to see the default view, filter by hand to refine the listing OR change the view to a pre-saved filter (or pre-set, or favorite).

I've considered two options (can be more, if you help me) to create those pre-set filters. Which option do you think will offer a better user experience?

Option 1: Trigger with a permanent button... Provide the panel with a button to see the list of "My pre-set filters". Inside the view, provide a button to "Create new filter", which opens/expands a view of the 1st filter: flower type. After clicking "Next", the 2nd filter: color, is shown. ---this is an easy CTA, but the problem is to render an overlay or expandable option to show the creation flow with the same filters that are presented when filtering by hand.

Option 2: Let the user make changes and then invite to save... Only after the user has completed a successful filtering (filtered by flower type an then by color) and hit the "Update listing" button, a pop-up or modal will invite the user to save the recently applied set of filters. The panel will have a button to see the list of "My pre-set filters", without the button to create it. (this option may contain a short instruction of how to create a pre-set from zero, as there is no CTA to trigger the action directly). ---this has no direct CTA, but the action will derive from a wanted filtering action triggered by the user. (although can be annoying when the user is only exploring and does not want to save each set of filters s/he is playing with)

Thanks for your feedback!!

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As a user, I definitely want to verify that my filters result in the intended list. I want to immediately see what happens to the list when I change a filter. That's why the "Save Filters" function should appear on the filtered list (maybe only after the filters were changed).

Then, you will also need a "Delete Filter" function somewhere.

You might do without a "Change current filter", but only at the expense of requiring Delete+Create on the user's side, which is less than optimal.

Since I read from your question the concern that too many filter-related functions will clutter the UI, one possible place for these functions is as separate options in the filter list.

Also, I like being able to get to my goal in different ways. So, why not show a "Save current filter" as one option in the list of all available filters?

Summing up, why not have the following filter drop-down list:

filter-1
:
filter-N
--------
Save Filter
Change Filter <name>
Delete Filter <name>

where the first option is available only when the filter was changed, and the last two options only exist after a filter was selected.

There's a last complication: If your user defined a filter and saved it, then chooses the same filter again, do you treat these two as separate? I.e., would you display the name chosen for the first filter as title after re-constructing it again?

  • Thank you, I gathered good solutions here. Apart from the 2 main filters, there's a button to see the list of saved presets (in which the user can select 1 at a time to load the results again; or edit one by one by adding/unchecking items; or delete presets one by one). Below the filters, there's the "Results view" which contains a box with a short summary of the filters applied to the view (not the whole list, but something like: "8 flower types" and "35 colors"). So, as soon as a filter action is saved, this summary can be updated to show the preset name given by the user. Makes more sense? – redux Nov 13 '14 at 3:13
  • I completely discarded the pop-up at the end of the filtering action (after applying filters). There's a button to "Apply filters" to the results (cause there's no way the results change every time a checkbox is marked). What if, after clicked, the button "Apply filters" changes to "Save current filter"? What do you think? – redux Nov 13 '14 at 3:13
  • @redux, I'm not sure I would want to replace the button to execute a different function. Users looking for the second function might not look at the same spot, assuming they know what is (but only was) there. In the debate whether to hide or only disable inactive functions, I tend to argue for disabling, since that at least shows the users they have found the right spot, only some precondition is not met (and, yes, I sometimes get really angry when I see the disabled button and have no clue how to enable it :-) – virtualnobi Nov 19 '14 at 14:20
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I would decide based on the chance of the user wanting to use the same filter as he did before. Now let's assume the user wants to filter the same way on different moments (if not, there is no need for a save function). You could also think of a third option. Why not remember the last filter (preferably with a cookie or something that doesn't need an account). When the user returns to the site, you can point out (in a tooltip or something) that his filters from last time are still in place (maybe with a reset button). If there is is a real need for having different filters saved as preset, you can implement a button in the filter that says 'save filter'. A pulldown in the filter section with the different saved filters from which the user can choose his filter would fill the need of having different filters at hand. The advantage of this method is that a user is not necessarily required to save his filter before hand. The user is now able to see the results before he makes a decision weather or not to save.

  • The user needs to login to see this, and this filtering is a repetitive task for the intended users. The "save as preset" option is intented for them to keep the long selection they made and to repeat the same filter over time, to compare. I completely discarded the pop-up at the end of the filtering action (after applying filters). There's a button to "Apply filters" to the results (cause there's no way the results change every time a checkbox is marked). What if, after clicked, the button "Apply filters" changes to "Save current filter"? What do you think? – redux Nov 13 '14 at 3:03
  • That could work. However, only changing a label might go unnoticed. Maybe something to test? – Ruudt Nov 13 '14 at 7:32
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Why don't you give the user a button to save the current filter?
That way the user sees whether the chosen filters give actual results and they won't be bothered with popups or overlays.

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