I've come up with a functionality that I haven't seen before, and I'm wondering if it would be effective. The concept is that users will want to filter a table by a value that they recognize.

Given this table: Table with no interactions

The user sees the age 23 and decides to filter by that age. Traditionally, they type 23 in the filter field.

I'm proposing adding a filter icon that appears next to table values when you hover in their cell, like so: Table with hover interaction

Upon clicking the filter icon, that column's filter input field is populated with the corresponding value, thus filtering the table.

The users of the application are generally power users who interact with the application almost every day. The fields that they are likely to filter with are generally multiple words totaling between 10 and 40 characters. The advantage of this is that the user can browse rows with the value that they recognize, as opposed to recall. This is a desktop only application

  • is this desktop only? – Midas Sep 27 '16 at 19:42
  • @Midas Yes it is. – Ben Leeds Sep 27 '16 at 19:46
  • sorry, but what's the question here? – Devin Sep 27 '16 at 20:54
  • Looks like the perfect opportunity to do a little usability testing. Let us know what you find out. – Ken Mohnkern Sep 28 '16 at 18:34

How do you clear the filter? If the number '23' is not what i intended on clicking on...that means I have to refresh to try something else? What happens to my current pagination location at that point?

People typically use the column sorting/filtering at the top so they can quickly modify what they see in a more manageable way. Viewing things in descending and ascending order is a learned behavior that users come to expect.

However, I think a good way you can make your new concept work is to populate the top filter input with the number you select in the row. This way if the user doesn't like that selection they can just clear the input and it puts them back where they were. It promotes forgiveness and doesn't impose a lot of extra interactions.

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  • 1
    what you've suggested in the last paragraph is what I was thinking as well. Unfortunately, as a newbie I could only post 2 images! – Ben Leeds Sep 27 '16 at 20:06
  • Sounds good! Remember to test it with the users to see how it feels to them. Good luck! – Seth Jacobs Sep 27 '16 at 20:08

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