I'm creating a filter system to filter products. It can be based on multiple areas, for example, I have a category 'Shoes' and can filter based on brand, size, type of shoes, etc..

My question is, when I'm filtering the list, the results need to be based on the filter made before? Or based on the original list of products within that category?

For example, if I select brand X and later I select size 9 if there is any other shoes with size 9, even if it's from another brand, should it be displayed? Or should i restrict my filter of size 9 only within the brand X?

Edit based on the comments

The filter system starts by showing all the filter options right on page load, so there is nothing else showing up after some selection.

The filter has 2 options: By input, where user type something to search of. By checkbox, where user select 1 or more checkbox from a group of options within a specific filter option (for example: Brand).

This is a simple mockup of my filter, very basic and common.

enter image description here

  • How are the filters displayed? Are they checkbox? Are they tags? Are the filters being added after each one? If the filters are working together, and when you select 2 of them, the 2 filters are displayed at the same time, the usual behaviour that the users expects is to get all the products that two requirements. But, by other side, if the filters aren't both being displayed at the same time, you first filter by one -> get the results, and then filter by other one.... The results should be those products that fit separately each filter.
    – Anfuca
    Apr 22, 2016 at 12:16
  • @Anfuca I understand what you mean and i updated my question. Apr 22, 2016 at 12:31
  • Perfect. They are checkboxes. When the user ticks 2 checkboxes, the 2 checkboxes are actived, so they are expecting to get all the products that satisfy the specified filters together. Not in a separate way. Filter A AND Filter B. Not Filter A OR Filter B.
    – Anfuca
    Apr 22, 2016 at 12:42
  • @Anfuca This is clear for me, but what about Filter B within filter A? For example, assuming I've selected Brand Y and Size 8.5. Should i show Size 8.5 only within Brand Y, or show both all Brand Y and all Size 8.5 ? Apr 22, 2016 at 12:49
  • 2
    From my experience, user is expecting to get all the products with ONLY size 8.5 AND Brand Y.
    – Anfuca
    Apr 22, 2016 at 12:55

3 Answers 3


I think you should make your filtering as clear as possible and always show filters that are applied to the search results. Let's see 3 possible use cases for the situation that would be the least frustrating:

  1. User selects brand X, and you explicitly show that by ticking a checkbox or displaying a tag with brand name, etc.

  2. User selects size 9 and doesn't change his/her preferences regarding brand, and you filter according to both size and brand.

  3. User does remove product brand from filter and specifies only size – then the size should be what matters.

Filters that reset each time when you try adding another condition are very likely to drive users mad.

  • My only doubt is: "and you filter according to both size and brand" but should i show shoes with size 9 within brand X? Or shoes with size 9 regardless of the brand? Apr 22, 2016 at 12:34
  • Well, if the user has already selected a brand and didn't remove the selection upon choosing the size, it can be assumed that he/she wishes to see product of particular size within that brand. If user wants otherwise (i.e. shoes of size 9 regardless of the brand), he/she should be able to easily remove brand-related filtering options. The key is transparency – the checkboxes should reflect whatever options the user selected, and filtering should be made according to them. By the way, I agree with everything written by @Anfuca in comments to your post. Apr 22, 2016 at 14:26

I would suggest an approach where both criteria have to be met to make it into the list of results. Try to keep the goal that the user is trying to reach in mind. If they are searching for shoes by brand A in size 9 they probably are not interested in shoes by brand B in size 9 or shoes by brand A in other sizes than 9.

If that leaves you with too little results you might want to offer a second category of results (or suggestions) with items close to the specified criteria

Say the selected brand & size return less than x results then you could add a heading below them "Results close to your search" and display results by other brands. This approach would probably increase the development efforts but might be worth the effort.


As per your question "For example, if I select brand X and later I select size 9 if there is any other shoes with size 9, even if it's from another brand, should it be displayed? Or should i restrict my filter of size 9 only within the brand X?"

I think you should restrict to brand X, that's the behaviour of the filter which user can understand easily.

If the result shows size 9 with other brands then user think it's buggy.

If you like to list size 9 with other brand then you need to list as recommendations below the result.

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