How important filters are improving customer experience
How important filters are improving customer experience
  • Picture of Farheen Zabi
    Farheen Zabi
  • 23 September
  • It takes about 50 milliseconds for users to form an opinion about your website.
  • It takes 2.6 seconds for a user’s eyes to land on the area of a website that most influences their first impression.

USERS POSITIVE IMPRESSION (1)The key to creating a positive first impression is a combination of extreme clarity and quality design.


What are the important filters?

Important implementation details

  1. Promoted filtering values in the filtering sidebar in addition to at the top of the product list.
  2. Say no to using banner-like graphics.
  3. Adjusting the visual styling of the promoted filters
  4. Avoid over-categorization
  5. Return On Click Investment

Act of Balancing

What are the important filters?

Examples of highly important filters for broad product categories that one may consider promoting include :

  • “Coats” could promote a “length” or “material” filter

  • “Dresses” could promote a “Style” or “occasion” filter

  • “Avengers edition” could promote a “popular trend’’ or “t-shirts” filter.

A few categories for which the product lists are extensive and the majority of users do not want to devote their attention to the actual product list at first, searching for the desired products and hence a challenge is created for the users, typically resulting in users exploring product lists where the majority of products don’t match their purchase intentions, making it needlessly difficult for them to find the products they were looking for – often despite filters being available which would have produced much more relevant product lists. 

To mitigate the hassle faced by the users, a very few [16%] exclusively intelligent eCommerce websites have popular or promoted filters. (i.e. highlighted in a way that encourages users to select them.)


In the above case, Amazon promotes the “popular authors and series” filters at the top of the product list for ‘books’. It is easier for the users to get the must-haves. 

According to the top institutes -Only 16% of websites actively promote important filters on top of the product list (a prerequisite when relying more on filters than on categories)”

That means 84% of eCommerce sites have room for filtering improvement.


Important implementation details

You will further be rounded off with important implementation details -

1. Promoted filtering values in the filtering sidebar in addition to at the top of the product list.


Savvy users are generally trained to find filtering values in a left-hand sidebar, any “promoted” filtering values must always be represented in the sidebar as well since the sidebar filtering list will otherwise be incomplete.

This is particularly important because the promoted filtering values may just be a subset of the full selection of filtering values. Also, note that sometimes the best filtering values to promote are a combination of different filtering types, allowing the user to apply multiple relevant filters with just a single selection.

2. Say no to using banner-like graphics. 

A few sites have promoted filters that were visually boxed. This caused some of the test subjects to completely overlook these promoted filters, even when they contained the very filter type the subjects were looking for – mainly due to “banner blindness”.It’s therefore recommended to style promoted filters as buttons or links (possibly with a thumbnail), rather than as a banner, to indicate they are functioning as filters for the product list.

3. Adjusting the visual styling of the promoted filters 

For important-but-not-all-out-critical-filters, use a less visually dominant styling, such as text links. Then, as filter importance increases, gradually increase their visual dominance too, styling them as buttons, and possibly even including small thumbnails for absolutely vital filters. Having different degrees of visual styling for the promoted filters that correlate to the importance of selecting them helps provide the appropriate amount of “encouragement” for users to select one.

4. Avoid over-categorization

This technique should be used intelligently and sparingly, to avoid luring users into overly narrow filtered lists. 


There’s a tendency among e-commerce companies, rather than taking the time to accurately categorize, sub-categorize, and filter products, to instead throw things on the site as a category. But not everything needs to be a category of its own. Remember this: filters are your friend.

5.Return On Click Investment

When users click something on your site they are making an investment of both time and mental effort, and it’s therefore extremely important that you deliver a return on that investment.

Presence of important filters on top of the product list








ROCI equation: Investment (mental and time) < Return (value of content)

The “return” of applying one of these filters has to justify the “cost” of bringing the majority of users to a stop when navigating the product list.


Act of Balancing

The filters promotion technique shouldn’t simply be used site-wide for whatever happens to be the most popular filters in each category since not all categories will have “highly important” product attributes that must be defined for users to meaningfully browse the available products.



Baymard Institute, Target, Amazon