I'm working on a news application feed filter in which the user can adjust the feed via filter (all, recent, popular, etc.). What I'm not sure about is when/if the filter should reset.

Should it reset when they leave the tab (seems to soon)? When they leave the app? Never?


As long as it is clear to the user that a filter is set, maintaining their last preference e.g. "sticky" tends to work out best.

The biggest challenge with a default filter state is that you are assuming you know what ALL users want, which just isn't realistic.

Case in point. There's a mobile iOS app called 9GAG that maintains an ever growing collection of funny pictures. There's options on the "home" tab when you launch it for "Hot", "Trending", and "Fresh". The app defaults to "Hot" which is likely what a lot of users would find most interesting however many people (myself included) much rather prefer the "Fresh" tab which is a standard Reverse Chronological view. e.g. Latest first... keep scrolling to go back in time.

Every time I load the app I have to re-select my desired filter to "Fresh" in order to get the view I want. If the app maintained my preference, I wouldn't curse at it every time it launches.

The great thing about just maintaining the user's last choice as a default is that it "Just Works!" for everyone without any need for additional UI controls or clutter.


I'm sure you can find scads of research on this, but in my experience I have found that once the user has filtered to the point that they have an item they want to interact with and they leave the search page to interact with it, that is one point at which you can clear the filters. This all depends on your app and your users' tasks and flows, however.

If your users are likely to want to scan many such items, don't clear the filters at all. When they select an item from the filter list to interact with, slide it in on a modal panel of some sort so that when it is closed, the main item list has retained all of their filter criteria. You can always include a "Clear filters" Control to let them start fresh.

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    If you can't tell (with a high degree of certainty) when a user has "finished" using a filter, I'd be inclined to leave it active as long as practicable. Assuming there's a clear, easy-to-activate "Clear filter" function, then remembering it "too long" takes one click/tap to rectify whereas clearing it "too soon" may take several clicks and/or typing to replicate if the user still wanted the filter in place. – TripeHound Aug 22 '16 at 12:49

I think that news filters, help people to reach the kind of information they want and care about. When I pick filters I'm customizing information to my specific personality. So if you want to give users the ability to personalize the app, just let them choose when to reset the filters.

Sorry about my English. Good luck!

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