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slider with 0 as default min value

I am trying to figure out what the best UX would be for a slider filter. The slider is used to filter a list of companies based on a desired loan amount on a personal loan list page.

Currently, every filter is set at null and gets excluded until it is chosen. The null minimum value is shown as 0 at the left side of the filter.

My concern is that we are introducing data points into the filter that aren’t functional. I feel like it should only allow you to filter by min and max values of the data set. Otherwise it causes confusion to the end user.

Hypothetically, what if we are talking about home loans and the minimum loan from any company in the database is $100k. Are we causing confusion to the user by allowing them to filter from $0 to $100k when there are no values to output?

The other thing is that NULL != 0. By showing zero there we are not being true to what is actually going on.

In an ideal world I feel like all of these would be populated by the min/max values available in the data.

On the other end of the debate is that sometimes people want to see no results as a result set. The thought being "oh okay, most companies don't offer less than a $100k loan." To some, that would be a valuable piece of information.

The question is do users always want a result set that is guaranteed to contain results?

And if we do want them to go all the way to zero, is having the min value labeled "0" confusing? Again, because 0 != null != a value.

Currently the minimum of a slider can be above zero, but keep in mind we also use the lowest point on the slider as the reset point. Whether that value is zero or 1,000 it still causes confusion. The functionality is that is acts as a reset (specifically it resets just that one filter, meaning it excludes results). But the user might not know whether they are resetting the filter or choosing that specific low value.

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    So you're saying, hypothetically speaking, that companies could all offer 100K minimum as a loan. Here's the thing, if that's the minimum loan amount, why are you showing 0? No one can loan $0 because they are loaning nothing. Why introduce a number that people can not loan for? It's like having a filtering system with options that return nothing. – Majo0od Feb 3 '15 at 14:02
  • Yeah, that's my point of view in the debate. – Miron Lulic Feb 3 '15 at 17:07
  • It depends on your "business rule" if minimum applicable loan amount is $100 then there is no point displaying $0 in the slider. Same with Max point. – Ades Feb 4 '15 at 9:09
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Always show meaningful Results :

In an ideal world I feel like all of these would be populated by the min/max values available in the data.

You are absolutely the right! users visit a site to view/purchase/signup for products you have and not to view products that you don't have. Therefore, UI should only show users available min/max values so that the results returned are always meaningful to the user as in the example of Kayak:

enter image description here

Faceted search: Incorporate number of items/companies found :

On the other end of the debate is that sometimes people want to see no results as a result set. The thought being "oh okay, most companies don't offer less than a $100k loan." To some, that would be a valuable piece of information.

Users don't need to filter results to come to this conclusion as min/max values will be displayed within the slider. However, If the numeric slider mentioned in your question is part of a faceted search functionality then I would suggest that you show the number of available items next to the controls that manipulate each facet. By doing so the user is made aware that the the combination of filters applied/selected will bring-up a specific number of items . This removes ambiguity from the controls and creates meaning based on user input as well as on actual availability of the desired item within the "inventory" as in the example of eBay or amazon

enter image description here

Add Reset function :

I would also suggest adding an explicit Reset function to the filter header. This could be labelled "Clear all" or “Reset” to allow users to easily and quickly view all products. This will save users time and allow them to restart from scratch if the combination of filters applied didn't yield the results they expected.

Hope this helps

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One thing to point out:

"the minimum loan from any company IN THE DATABASE is $100k"

I think there are two valid values for the minimum of the search:

  • zero (intuitive)
  • the lowest value of the current search

The lowest value in the database has no meaning to the user; they will never know if it is the lowest value in the city, or in the country, or currently, or historically, or just a guess of the developer, etc.

Another point: you know these two end sliders, right?

enter image description here

  • I have to disagree, the lowest value in the database does have meaning. I don't want to know what the lowest loan you can't offer me is, I wan't to know what the lowest available loan is, which should be the minimum of the slider. If I have a slider that returns basketball players by height I dont want the slider to start with 0 inches and have to slide all the way to 68 inches (guess) just to start seeing results. – DasBeasto Jan 25 '16 at 19:20

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