tl;dr The default setting for a search box is ‘include everything’. Which of the following gifs presents a better option to convey this?
We’re redesigning a reporting interface for a dataset with dozens of possible filter options. Our current system is very difficult to use, so this version is leaning heavily on defensive design.
The goal is for no possible filter combination to return a nonsensical dataset. As such, the “default” state for each filter has been carefully made mutually exclusive from any associated options.
This is the first time in this project I’ve come across a search box.
The current implementation of the box is something like this. Where ’empty’ state means “include any reference”:
According to consistency with every other filter so far in this new design, the search box should look something like this:
I have reservations about either of these options. To me, the first option doesn’t seem to communicate the default state as clearly and mutually-exclusively as the second option. But the second option requires many more clicks than the first.