I have a filter bar that allows users to filter and one of the critteria that users can filter by is "Questions". These can be any of the following (and even more):

  • Age?
  • Country?
  • Traveler type?
  • How would you rate your trip?
  • Would you recommend us?
  • etc.

The way our current fitlers (this one and all the rest) are built is something like this:

enter image description here

The problem is that some questions - such as "Country" - have a lot of possible answers and thus occupy a huge part of the list. We cannot control how many answers a question will have and so we are facing a scenario where users have to scroll a lot in order to get to the next question in the list:

enter image description here

I am unsure of what solutions could be found to improve the usability for this. Any ideas or suggestions?

Edit: One solution I was thinking would be that for long lists I limit the items to a certain number (E.g. 10) and add an extra item at the last position that reads "Show all" which then expands the list to reveal all items.

  • Which is the criteria for separate filter 1 from filter 2? Is it only for desktop? the option of each filter are show only when clicking on the name of the filter? Nov 26, 2014 at 14:04
  • Example of filters would be: Survey type, Questions, Timeframe. In this case the filter that causes the problem would be the "Questions" filter. The design is only for desktop and the list of options is only shown in a dropdown when clicking the filter name. Nov 26, 2014 at 14:07
  • Use a treeview type control where they can collapse or expand everything under.
    – paparazzo
    Nov 26, 2014 at 16:00

3 Answers 3


This is a ripe opportunity for a type-ahead control. In cases where you have a large number of possible choices like this, it is more likely that the user already knows the answer. It would improve the usability tremendously if you let them input the answer and move on, instead of searching a very long list, which wastes their time. For web, I would suggest something like Chosen (http://harvesthq.github.io/chosen/) or Select2 (http://ivaynberg.github.io/select2/)

It looks as if you may be forcing the user into a question and answer workflow, where it may not be needed. If this is a true filtering scenario, the user should be able to freely add and remove filter criteria without being forced into a conversation with the UI. Think of it more as a customer who knows what they want - "I would like a ham and cheese sandwich with chips and a soda" vs "I'm not really sure what I want... can you tell me about your options?"

  • We already have type-ahead behaviour implemented in filters because the list will be updated on-the-fly as the user types something into the search box at the top. I am however concerned that this would not be "enough" and that I should make sure the list is also friendlier if used without the type-ahead. Nov 26, 2014 at 14:50
  • That's fair, but presenting the user with all of the options isn't sustainable or usable, as you've already pointed out. It seems like you may need to test with them in order to better understand their use case, but I would still point out that asking a user to answer questions in series in this case does not seem like the appropriate way to move forward.
    – njmason
    Nov 26, 2014 at 15:21

So as stated in the edit, I was thinking of limiting list groups to a number of max number of items - let's say 10. To reveal all items the user would have to click a "Show all..." button:

enter image description here

This seemed like a decent approach but then the problem is dealing with selected items that are hidden by default. E.g. if item#15 is selected, but the list displays max 10 items by default. How do I show that there are extra items selected? One way of doing this would be to show them as extra selected items in the group:

enter image description here

I've used the vertical dots to suggest there are other items hidden between the selected ones, but I think this wouldn't be as much of aid as it would cause more confusion so I can drop them.

Even so, I'm still not very confident in this solution.


Take a look at what websites with a lot of options (such as eBay) have done with their filtering criteria. The advantage in this is they've done a lot of user testing already to arrive at their current filtering methodology.

All those scrolling dropdowns where you can select random items (I'm assuming with [ctrl+click]) has a high probability for user error and frustration.

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