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Filter patterns

Guidelines and best practices for filtering a data set using Helios components.

Filtering is used to limit the objects in a data set based on one or more parameters. It is commonly used in tandem with a Table, but the core concepts have a wide range of relevant use cases depending on the type of data set and the context within the application.


A filtering pattern consists of a number of Helios components that work together functionally and enforce a consistent layout. These elements are variable depending on the data set's content and the context within the application and can be combined in different ways to achieve an experience that benefits the end user.

Data set

A data set is a broad term for an array of items, objects, or related information presented as separate but related records. A data set is commonly represented via a Table but may be expressed in other formats depending on the type of information.

Data set represented by a table

Tabular data set

Data set represented by a grid

Non-tabular data set


Filters are responsible for the functional aspect of limiting a data set and for displaying the parameters which a user can filter upon. Filter positioning is largely dependent on the complexity of the data set and the scope to which the filters are being applied. For example, are the filters applied at the page level or only to the data set they are paired with?

Filters often consist of numerous parameters that mirror the columns of a table or parameters contained within the data set. For more details on mirroring filters and parameters within a data set, refer to the filtering core concepts.

Filter bar

Organizing filters in a filter bar is a common positioning method and consists of one or more dropdowns, buttons, or input components that are used to select values from a set of parameters. A Segmented Group can be used within a filter bar to group similar parameters and support complex filtering.

Filters represented by a filter bar

Example of a horizontal filter bar paired with a data set expressed as a table.

Horizontal orientation of the filter bar

Depending on the filter type and how they are related, multiple Segmented Groups can be used to group similar filters together. For example; a Search Input grouped with a Dropdown to limit the filter parameters that are included in the search.

Limiting the returned search results to a specific parameter

Searching across a specific parameter

If space permits, filters can be positioned vertically in a sidebar at the page level or in line with the data set.

Page-level sidebar

Page-level sidebars can be used to filter a data set presented in a non-tabular fashion and if filtering the content of the entire page is required. A sidebar should be oriented on the left (start) side of the viewport.

Vertical orientation of the filter bar

In-line sidebar

In-line sidebars can be used when the number of filterable parameters is minimal and if space permits.

Vertical orientation of the filter bar on the left

Applied filters

Display the applied filters and provide the user with a method to clear all filters at once. Applied filters should be represented using a Tag component, which allows for the individual dismissal of a filter value.

Applied filters

Positioning with filter bars

Applied filters should be positioned between the data set and the filter bar with a 16px gap between elements.

Applied filters with filter bar positioning

If the filters are positioned in a page-level sidebar, the applied filters should be positioned directly above the dataset with a 16px gap.

Applied filters with filter sidebar

Global filter functions

Depending on the fetching method and complexity of the data set, global filter functions can be used to expose methods that effect the entire data set. Global functions should be differentiated from the primary filters and aligned to the end of the data set. Examples include:

  • Manually refreshing the data set.
  • Triggering a Flyout with more complex filters.

Multiple global filter functions

Multiple global functions

Single global function

Single function

In the case a multiple filter functions, use the Segmented Group. If only a single function is necessary, use the secondary Button.


Use pagination to break down the filtered data set into pages. For more details, refer to the Pagination guidelines.

Pagination example

Filtering methods

Depending on the fetching strategy, size, and rendering method of the data set, how filters are applied and the impact on the user experience varies.

Live filtering

Live filtering refers to updating the records within a data set immediately after a user makes a selection. This method results in a responsive user experience, but may not be possible with large data sets or complex filtering methods.


Applying filters one at a time lets the user to "finalize" their decision before applying, avoiding the distraction of the data set constantly updating in the background. This method is useful when the user may want to select multiple values in a single dropdown, but requires an extra step to apply the filters.

Batch filtering

Batch filtering supports the user making multiple selections across different parameters and only updating the results of the data set when the user interacts with a global "apply" function. This method is useful when the data set is very large or when the filter parameters are complex.

Displaying selected filters

Communicate that values corresponding with a filter parameter have been applied within the Dropdown by adding a BadgeCount within the filter.

Communicating that two values within a parameter have been applied in the Dropdown

Filter dropdown with count

This, when combined with the applied filters provides a detailed snapshot of what specific filter values are applied to the data set and the relevant parameters that they correspond with.

Communicating that multiple filter parameters have been applied

Filter dropdown with multiple counts

Empty state

Empty state within a filter pattern is expressed in two different ways:

  1. Applied filters have resulted in no records being returned in the data set.
  2. No filters have been applied resulting in no tags in the applied filters area.

Within a data set

Depending on the applied filters, there may not be any records returned from a data set that match parameters and values selected. In this case, communicate the empty state to the user and highlight instructions to adjust the filters or provide a method to clear all filters.

Use the Helios Application State component to communicate the lack of results and steps the user can take to remedy the situation.

Empty state example

Within applied filters

If no filters have been applied, use a Tooltip coupled with the applied filters label to guide the user to the filter functions. Not only does this provide context and direct the user to the filters, but it prevents unnecessary layout shift upon applying filters.

Empty state in applied filters

Avoiding an empty state

As filtering is reductive in nature and driven by a user action, it’s not always possible to avoid an empty state.

If technically feasible, use the count property within the Dropdown ListItem to call attention to filters that will return zero results.

In this example, "Status > Pending" does not return any results.

Count property in ListItem

Reverting filters

If applying filters to a data set yields no results, offer users an option to clear all or specific filters.

This can be done by adding a "Clear all" action to the Application State or by including dismissible Tags for each applied filter.


Depending on the complexity of the data set, it may be necessary to account for the overflow of elements within the filters.

Filter bar overflow

If the number of filterable parameters exceeds the available space, consider prioritizing the most commonly used filters in the filter bar and moving less important or more complex filters to a Flyout that can be triggered via an action in the filter bar.

Hiding additional filters behind an action

More filters trigger

Triggering a Flyout with additional filter parameters

Flyout triggered by more filters


Don't stack multiple filter bars on top of a data set. This can result in unnecessary complexity in the UI.

Multiple filter bar rows

Given that the page-level sidebar occupies the height of the viewport, take filters within a sidebar should not overflow into an interstitial component like a Flyout. Instead, utilize the height of the viewport and the consider introducing a scrollable area within the sidebar if many filters are necessary.

Filter sidebar with scroll

Helios does not publish any components that account for the layout of filter elements; these are the consumer’s responsibility. Instead, use these guidelines to combine Helios components and best support your application structure.

Pattern types

Orient filter patterns in either a horizontal filter bar, or a vertical filter sidebar. The core anatomy of a filter pattern remains largely the same regardless of the orientation, layout, or positioning method.

Filter pattern anatomy

Element Usage
Filters Required; can be represented by a filter bar or a filter sidebar.
Applied filters Required
Data set Required
Pagination Optional; recommended for larger data sets.

Filter bar orientation

Filter bar orientation

The most common method of organizing filters is in a filter bar which orients the filters horizontally on top of the data set. This orientation is flexible and is commonly used in tandem when a data set is presented in a Table.

Filter sidebar orientation

Filter sidebar at page level

If the page layout supports it, filters can be organized in a filter sidebar at the left (start) of the viewport. This is common when a data set is presented in a grid or the in a non-tabular format.

Pattern spacing

Vertical spacing

When spacing elements vertically within the pattern, use a 16px gap.

Pattern anatomy

Horizontal spacing

When spacing elements horizontally within the pattern, use a 24px gap.

Pattern anatomy

Filter bar

Filter bar anatomy

Pattern anatomy with filter bar

Element Usage
Container Required; spans the width of the data set and wraps filter elements.
Filters Required; dictates what parameters are available to filter upon.
Segmented Group Optional, but recommended to group similar or related filters together. In the case of a single filter, use a Dropdown.
List Required; coupled with the Dropdown, displays filter values that correspond with the parameter in the Dropdown Toggle
Filter functions Optional; responsible for performing global functions on the data set.

Filter bar spacing

Use a 16px gap between each filter element or Segmented Group within the filter bar.

Multiple groups in a filter bar

Align filter functions to the end of the container with space between the primary filters and the global functions.

Functions within a filter bar

Filter bar within a pattern

Within a filter pattern, stack the filter bar on top of the data set and applied filters with a 16px gap between each element.

Pattern anatomy with filter bar

Filter sidebar

Filter sidebar anatomy

Sidebar anatomy

Element Usage
Container Required; wraps the filter elements and occupies the height of either the page or the data set depending on the scope of the filters.
Filters Required; dictates what parameters are available to filter upon and the corresponding values. Can be represented by a Checkbox group or Radio group
Separator Required to separate multiple filter parameters within a sidebar.

Filter sidebar spacing

Spacing within a filter sidebar extends the guidelines for spacing within a form pattern. Differentiate groups within a sidebar using a Separator with a vertical gap of 24px on the top and bottom of the Separator.

Sidebar spacing

Filter sidebar within a pattern

Within a filter pattern, the filter sidebar can be positioned one of two ways:

  1. At the page level, spanning the available height of the page or viewport.
  2. In-line with the data set if the filter parameters are less complex.

Filter sidebar at the page level

Positioning filters in a sidebar at page level removes them from the normal layout flow. In this case, align the sidebar at the start of the viewport excluding any global navigation elements and use 24px of internal padding within the sidebar.

Sidebar spacing page level

Filter sidebar in-line with a data set

Positioning a filter sidebar in-line with the data set should only be done in cases where the number of filter parameters is small or complexity is low. Use a 24px gap between the sidebar and the data set in this scenario.

Sidebar spacing in-line

Applied filters

Applied filters anatomy

Element Usage
Container Required; wraps the label and applied filters to enforce consistent spacing.
Label Required; communicates whether filters have been applied or not.
Tag list Required; consists of one or more dismissible Tags that communicate the specific filter value.
Bulk clear Required; clear all applied filters with a single bulk action. Use a small tertiary Button with an icon.

Applied filters Spacing

  • Use a 16px gap between elements in the applied filters.
  • Use a 8px gap between tags in the tag list. Refer to the Tag spacing guidelines for more details.

Applied filters spacing

If the number of tags spans more than one line, use a 12px gap between lines.

Tags span more than one line

Applied filters within a pattern

Within a filter pattern, position the applied filters above the data set with a 16px gap. If paired with a filter bar, the applied filters should sit between the filter bar and the data set.

Pattern anatomy with filter bar

If not paired with a filter bar, the applied filters should still be positioned above the data set with a 16px gap.

Applied filters with a sidebar


Refer to the Pagination guidelines for details around spacing and usage of the component.

Pagination within a pattern

Within a filter pattern, position Pagination at the bottom of the data set using a 16px gap between elements and ensure that the Pagination spans the width of the data set.

Pattern anatomy with filter bar

Filtering consists of several conceptual foundations that contribute to the larger pattern, filtering method, and communication of filters to the user.

Concepts and terminology

Concept Usage
Parameter Refers to the specific property or category that is being filtered on; often represented by the specific label of the filter.
Value Refers to the specific value within a parameter that is referenced in the filter; e.g., a specific string, status, numerical range, etc.
Conditional Refers to the relationship between the parameter and the value.

The combination of the parameter, conditional, and value results in a variable and determines the specific records being included or excluded from a data set.

Parameter + Conditional + Value = Variable

In the context of a filter bar

Filter concept anatomy

In the context of a filter sidebar

Filter concept anatomy

In the context of an applied filter

Applied filter conceptual terminology


Conditionals express the relationship between a parameter and value, the most common being the equality conditional which signifies a parameter is equal to a value or array of values.

This example showcases an equality filter that would return records in a data set where the Status parameter is equal to values Active and Pending.

Filter concept equality example

Other types of conditionals can be used to account for different value types (booleans, strings, ranges, etc). Which conditional to use depends on the type of parameter and the values it contains.

Comparative conditionals

  • Equals (=)
  • Does not equal ()
  • Greater than (>)
  • Less than (<)
  • Greater than or equal to ()
  • Less than or equal to ()

Text and string conditionals

  • Contains
  • Does not contain
  • Starts with
  • Ends with

Applied filters in context

The variable determined by the combination of the parameter, conditional, and value should be communicated by the content within the tag. How explicit this communication is depends on the level of complexity, but more explicitness often benefits the user, especially when parameters might have similar labels and associated values.

Explicit communication of an applied filter

filter concept value

Implied communication of an applied filter

Filter concept implied value

Mirroring of parameters

Filterable parameters should mirror the columns in a table or other visible label in the data set. This is the most explicit method to communicate what parameters are available to filter on and how the results within a data set change based on the applied variables.

Mirroring parameters in a filter bar

This example showcases a 1:1 relationship between the columns of a data set and the available filter parameters in the filter bar.

Mirroring the columns of a table in the available parameters

It's not always necessary to mirror all of the parameters in a data set, there may be parameters that aren't relevant to filter upon.


Dont include a parameter in the available filters that is not visually reflected in the data set.

Displaying an unrepresented parameter

Filtering on an unrepresented parameter will return results that correspond with the filter, but the specific value is not displayed to the user and corresponding result.

Parameter and value relationship within a data set

Parameters within a data set

Parameter and value relationship as a grid

Grid data set parameter and value relationship