So ran into this scenario and was looking for feedback, best practices, scenarios that you had that might have been similar, etc. Here's the situation:

  • A user has to select some companies that their changes would apply to.
  • 90% of the time, if not more, the user would only have 2-4 companies listed as options to check.
  • Because of this, the only thing we list above the items is a "Select All | Unselect All" control.
  • BUT, there could be a few users, very rarely, that could have 10-20 companies to select.

Here's an example. "A" shows what it will be like almost all the time. "B" shows the concept that could happen if they have more than 8-10 results.

So the question is, is it normal practice to only reveal additional features like a "Find" feature, "show only selected" feature, once the items they could choose passes 10 items? I ask only that I'm trying to keep the screen as clean as possible and don't want to clutter it up with additional controls if 9 out of 10 times the user will have less items to select than controls around it. enter image description here

1 Answer 1


Depending upon the facts you mention above, consider the attached solution. Here is more on the approach:

1) As most users are going to use the interface with 3-4 options, it makes less sense for showing them the "Select/Unselect All" options. Don't you think so? Hence, hide those controls, when options<3 OR 4.

2) When options exceed, say 4, show the controls (Select/Un-select All).

3) "Show only selected" feature is an overkill here, since again, the focus is on the regular users (who obviously do not want this). You could use an approach, as shown, where a selection visually highlights the option.

4) Again, keeping your focus on the 90% users, you can avoid the Find/Search feature. You could look at sorting and presenting the options to aid easier look through.

Idea is to design for the 90% users, with an intention to help the lesser lot also - which in most cases helps the 90% also. (for example, the visual highlight)

enter image description here

  • Very nice, Amit. Yeah, the "find" was one where, even if people had a lot more than 10, they'd probably be the 1-2%. Good call on the bold callout of the selected items vs the "show only selected."I was thinking of the sorting too but it would only be on name since there were was nothing else they were sorting by. Unless we added a sort for "selected".
    – Charles
    Dec 2, 2015 at 15:37
  • Glad, it helps. Regarding sorting, I meant name sorting only.
    – Amit Jain
    Dec 2, 2015 at 16:30

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