Filters are provided as your organization’s unique way to communicate with your audience so that they can browse your calendar and event content intuitively and effectively. This means that filters must always be AUDIENCE centric. What does it mean to be audience-centric? They need to be succinct, clear, and match the expectations of your users.
In this article you will find:
- Ideal Filters List
- Auditing your Filters List
- Organizing your Filters
- Monitoring Filter Usage
New to Localist’s categorical tools? Start with our introductory guide: Intro to Classification
Ideal Filters List
The most common roadblock we see across our platforms is that the Filters lists are too long. The longer your list, the more likely it is that your users won’t be able to not just find events they’re interested in, but that they will also abandon interacting with your calendar all together.
An ideal Filter list length will accomplish two things:
- Prevent “expand” and “show more” links from truncating your Filters as much as possible. In Localist an “Expand” link will show after four child filters and a “Show More” link will show after five parent filters.
- Be entirely viewable in a typical window size with as little additional scrolling as possible.
Auditing Your Filter List
The easiest way to work on trimming the excess is to remove what should not be a Filter in the first place.
Here are four kinds of Filters you should always omit or remove:
- Places: Adding locations as Filters will clutter your list and it’s a misuse of a Localist feature. Localist provides Place Pages for this exact purpose! Places give you the ability to create a directory for users to browse. These pages increase SEO by adding more pages to your site, plus, they provide additional context surrounding the location of your events!
- Organizations: Similar to Place Pages, Localist provides Group and Department Pages that can be used to house any common event hosts, groups, organizations, departments, associations, clubs, etc. If there is a common host, then Groups and Departments are your solution!
– Best Practice –
Group and Department pages are fantastic resources for community buy-in for your calendar! Creating a Group or Department Page for an organization is like giving them their own corner of your platform for their events to live. Assign events to these pages to provide your users with context around the hosts of your events! Read more about Localist Groups and Departments here.
- Temporary, Annual, Seasonal or Limited Series: If a Filter is not used year-round, then it should be a Tag or Keyword. Things like Inauguration (temporary), Homecoming (annual), Christmas (seasonal), or MLK Week (Limited Series) are only serving your users for a small percentage of the year, while inhibiting their browsing experience for the majority of the year.
- Event Details: If a Filter is communicating any logistics of an event, then these details should instead be moved to the event’s description or perhaps collected in a custom field. For example, things like “food provided,” “free parking” or “dog friendly” should be omitted.
Once you’ve removed items that are not meant to be Filters, your next step to focusing your list is to consolidate, consolidate and consolidate some more!
Here are five things to avoid when consolidating your Filters:
- Granularity: Some things to ask yourself are:
- Will a general user really understand or care about a distinction? For example, will users know what distinguishes a Lecture from a talk, presentation, assembly, or conference?
- Does the benefit of including a granular Filter outweigh the benefits of removing it to have a succinct list? For example, is it really necessary to include unique Filters for contemporary, ballet, and hip-hop in lieu of having a simple Dance Filter?
- Child filters: Child Filters should only be used when absolutely necessary for the same purposes. By their very nature, Child Filters run a high risk of being too granular and not contributing to a positive user experience.
– Best Practice –
An easy way to automatically scale these back is to remove instances of there being only one Child Filter under a Parent Filter. Read more about Filters as a Classification tool here.
- Duplicates: If your filter list has duplicates, you run a high risk of admins and submitters only selecting one or none at all. Duplicates are often found in two different groups of Filters.
- For example, having an “Alumni” Event Type Filter and an “Alumni” Target Audience Filter. Alumni belongs in the Target Audience Filter Family because it provides users with context around who can attend the event.
- Yes/No Filters: Filters should never be formatted as a question/answer. For example, having a Parent Filter for Open to the Public and Child Filters for Yes and No. In instances like these, the absence of Open to the Public and the presence of another Target Audience Filter like Students will be clear enough.
- Internal Filters: If you need to label and collect events that are internal/geared towards staff, then you should be using Tags or Keywords. Since Filters are always displayed on your homepage, you want to use this prime real estate for items that will be serving the majority of your audience at all times.
Organizing Your Filters
Now that you’ve reduced and consolidated your Filters, you need to evaluate how they’re organized to ensure that they are easily identifiable and digestible to your users. Your Filter list should not consist of only an Event Types list that includes Filters from a range of categories.
There are three main Filter Families that cover all of your bases:
- Event Types: This Filter Family provides context surrounding the format of an event and communicates what an attendee will be doing or experiencing at the event (i.e. Lectures & Presentations, Concerts & Performances, etc.)
- Target Audience: This Filter Family provides context surrounding who can attend an event (i.e. General Public, Students, LGBTQ+, etc.)
- Topic: This Filter Family provides context surrounding the information covered, overarching goals, or initiatives during an event (i.e. Arts & Culture, Health & Wellness, etc.)
Example: An event format is a Fundraiser (Event Types) geared towards Alumni (Target Audience) for a new arts program (Arts & Culture – Topic).
Depending on your type of organization and your goals, these Filter Families may vary. Other successful Filter Families have been:
The bottom line is that they should be streamlined and their goal should be entirely clear to your users.
Monitoring Filter Usage
Your last — and ongoing — step to finalizing your Filters List is to confirm that they are actually being used by your users and admins.
To put your Filters to the test, these two statements should be true of all filters:
- Consistently & recently used by Admins and Users
- Consistently & recently browsed by Users
If one or both of these statements is not true, the Filter should be removed entirely, transformed into a Landing Page, or turned into a Tag/Keyword. There is nothing less engaging then having dozens of Filters with (0) displaying across your calendar pages!
Admin & User Activity: Use your Admin Dashboard to see how many times a Filter has been applied to events (as well as the last time it was applied to an event.)
User & Visitor Activity: Use Google Analytics to see how often a Filter is browsed by your site visitors. Just because a Filter is used frequently by Admins does not guarantee that it will be of interest or helpful to your users. Remember, your Filters List is user-centric first!