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I have table of records, of which three columns are sortable by ascending/descending state. This table is also filterable. The name column is clickable, which then loads the webapp's version of an associated file. There is no pagination, and length is fixed at 50.

Right now, the sort column and order, filter value and scroll position are saved when the user goes from List view to Document view. Upon return to the List view, if any of the values are saved, they are applied to the view. Refreshing the browser and/or navigating away to another domain clears these saved values.

I'm currently wondering about the best UX for handling filtering and scroll position. Right now, if a user puts text to filter the record list and then scrolls to a row, then removes all text from the filter box, the default action is to scroll to the top of the list while maintaining sort order.

My team lead has proposed a modification of this: If a user scrolls and then applies a filter only to clear the filter, return to the original position before filter was applied.

I'm of two minds of this, because:

  1. if a user enters in filtered text and then scrolls, when removing the text the scroll position will be at the top.
  2. If a user scrolls, enters in text, then scrolls some more, the return position will be at the position where the text was first entered.

I can go either way with this, but would like a third opinion.

  • It sounds like you're on the right track and helping the user in this situation could do more harm than good. Unless many users are asking for this behavior I wouldn't even consider trying it – DaveAlger Apr 7 '16 at 4:28
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The most important item should be up top

You already understand this principle of design since you've given the user various ways to sort and/or filter the rows to show what they care about most first.

Autoscrolling of any kind breaks this principle because if a user is clearing a filter it means they no longer care about the filtered items up top which means the most important item is now based solely on sorting. The default behavior of jumping back up to the top is correct.

Note: This is a general answer and like any other design pattern there may be special exceptions to the rule so asking your users what they expect is key.

  • Note that only the results should scroll/jump back to the top. If I select a checkbox to modify the results and then have to scroll back down to select another checkbox just below the one I selected, it will annoy me. – Stephan Bijzitter May 7 '16 at 16:35
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I think that the main concern should be not to any uncalled for scrolling because that is jarring and leaves the user without a sense of control.

You should try and determine what users are usually doing when they change the filter input and what they expect to see at that point but lacking a good reason to scroll, I would keep the updated list about the same place it was before so the user will not loose context.

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