More than a nice-to-have feature, product filters are a crucial element to enhance the shopping experience and boost sales for eCommerce stores. An A/B test on buyakilt.com saw a 26% increase in conversions and a whopping 76.1% boost in revenue after implementing a product filter. That clearly shows how a smooth filtering experience can leverage revenue for online businesses.
Unfortunately, up to 57% of Baymard's benchmark sites didn't offer all of the 5 key filter types, let alone have a user-friendly design for the filtering values. To learn more about the essential filter options, check out this article. Today, we will focus on how to display the values in these filters so customers can quickly find their desirable characteristics.
Range sliders for filters with numeric values
Sliders allow users to view and select a value (or range) from the range along a bar. They’re ideal for adjusting settings such as price, width, length, height, etc.
Our Custom range sliders feature allows users to create up to 12 slider filters from product options, tags, and metafields. Cookwoods has used it to set up many sliders for its typical product attributes to enhance shopping experience.
Filter by price is among the most necessary filter options unless your products are not for sale. It is also the most common filter with numeric values that you can find in all eCommerce stores.
As a rule of thumb, the price filter is displayed as a range slider. This enables users to filter results so they only view items that cost more or less than a given amount, or those that fall inside a specified price range.
Still, a pure price range slider can be confusing for shoppers. Inadequately designed sliders create even more issues around numeric filter usability.
The first consideration for a range slider filter is how many separated ranges to have on the slider.
The continuous option, as seen in the price filter of Airbnb, lets users move freely along the price track and the min and max number can be randomly picked.
The good side of this design is that customers can choose the exact price range to their liking. However, the freedom that the range slider without value indicators offers also has problems. It takes more time for shoppers to set and select a value along with a subjective range. Moreover, if the range slider is not super responsive, it will ruin the whole shopping experience. That's why besides the continuous range slider, Airbnb has added a value text box. Here shoppers can type the price they want instead of moving the slider thumbs.
This meme shows exactly how ridiculous it is when a range slider comes without a value text box.
Another option to resolve the usability issues of continuous sliders is to use discrete sliders. These feature pre-determined tick marks on the slider track which shoppers adjust to a specific value by referencing its value indicator. This way, customers can have a better idea of what is the low, the middle, and the high value in the price range. Also, you can set a “slider step" or enable a value text box using an app like Boost Product Filter & Search so shoppers can still choose the exact range they want.
(Source: Boost Product Filter & Search)
Guess, one of our users, is using a discrete slider for Filter by price. As the slider step is set as “1”, shoppers can move the slider thumb as freely as in the continuous slider and the price value can be 41,42, and so on.
Dynamic display options with image swatches
A swatch filter is a typical display option to make it easier for shoppers to imagine how a larger item would look like. It is a great application of the old saying “A picture is worth a thousand words”. Furthermore, we process visuals 60,000 times faster than text so filters with image swatches are much more user-friendly than other display options.
The color palette is probably the most popular use of a swatch filter. It helps shoppers visualize the true color of the products within seconds. Without the swatch filter, you may need a long phrase to describe the exact shade of the items and most of the time customers still find it complicated to distinguish between green and emerald without a color swatch. You think this small difference won't affect the shopping experience? Just imagine how your girlfriend would react if you mistakenly buy the cherry red lipstick instead of her favorite scarlet red.
The color swatch filter on Red Dress helps shoppers visualize the difference between Blush Pink and Light Pink.
If your products contain more than one color or if none of the color codes can depict the exact shade of your product, you can use our Swatch settings to customize the swatch.
You can choose to display single color or dual colors with the Swatch settings.
The ability to upload images in the swatch opens a lot of opportunities to enrich the shopping experience, especially for fashion commerce. You can customize the image swatch to help customers visualize the shape, pattern, print, etc of the products.
Show all values vs Truncation design vs Inline scroll for filter option values
There are 3 main ways that most online stores implement to display filters:
- Display all values at once
- Show a subset of values combined with a scrollbar
- Display a truncated list and a View More or View All button to present the remaining values
As you can see, the first option works best when you have a small number of values in a filter option. Usually, filters with from 5 to 10 values can be displayed at once. If there is more than that number, you should use a truncation design or an inline scroll to make sure customers won't overlook all available filtering criteria that go after a long list of filtering values in their full length.
The scrollbar is trusted by 26% of the top-grossing e-commerce sites for listing filtering options according to a Baymard study. Still, when using this option, you need to avoid these issues:
- Scroll hijacking: Inline scroll areas can hijack page scrolling when the user is using the mouse wheel or is on a touch device.
- Overly sensitive scrollbars: This is usually a fallback of “Scroll Hijacking”. It usually happens on the desktop when users drag the actual scrollbar instead of using the scroll wheel.
- Invisible content & scrollbars: The default scrollbar design for some operating systems is to hide non-active scrollbars so customers won’t actually be able to tell where the inline scrollable areas are.
The downside of showing filter values with a scrollbar can be resolved with a truncated list. The styling of a “View all" button or hyperlink is more noticeable than the inline scroll, so customers will notice that it’s a clickable option.
Whether using the truncation design or the scrollbar, there is still an unavoidable problem. Getting an overview of all values is often difficult for the shoppers due to its constricted space. Indeed, they need to perform further actions (scrolling down or clicking “View more") to see all the available values.
To minimize the effect of this issue, you can display a search box on top of the filter options so shoppers can quickly find their desirable values. It's also an excellent idea to prioritize the values that your customers usually click through. By using the Collection analytics of Boost Product Filter & Search, you will know which characteristics are most popular and can manually rearrange the order of filter option values.
It's all about understanding shoppers' intent
Customer behavior is the foundation of all UI/UX design. To create a filter group and values that serve your shoppers, there are several questions you need to keep in mind:
- Which criteria are most influential to users in making their choice?
- What words do users use to describe these criteria?
- Do visitors understand your wording, or does it look like jargon to them?
- Which filter values are the most popular or most commonly used?
The answer can be discovered in competitive research, user interviews or surveys, and analytics metrics about filter and search engagement as in our behavioral reports. Install Boost Product Filter & Search and enjoy a 14-day free trial with full access to all features!