The Best Filter UI Design for Large-Scale Apps

Optimizing filter layout and interaction

UX Movement
6 min readSep 7, 2023

Navigating a large-scape application without filters is like browsing a library without a catalog. It’s impossible to find what you’re looking for if you can’t narrow it down by criteria.

Providing users with a set of criteria to choose from isn’t easy. The first challenge is figuring out the best page layout to display the input fields. The second is figuring out the optimal way for users to interact with them.


There are two common filter layouts: left sidebar or horizontal toolbar.

Left Sidebar

The advantage of a left sidebar is that it allows you to display more filters on the page without hiding the options. Since a page has infinite vertical space, you can stack them.

However, the downside is that users will often overlook and ignore these filters. It’s unclear to users that the sidebar is connected to the main content area they’re viewing (source).

Not only that, but users also have to scroll to see any filters at the bottom. As a result, they might miss some if they don’t scroll down all the way. Requiring users to do extra work to see the filters isn’t a realistic expectation.



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