Community suggestions: How to fix product lists?


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We're currently examining revamping the interface for browsing for products by category. We currently use a "top picks" concept, that is driven by the competitor head-to-head community voting. To be blunt, I don't think it's working. Have a look at the top pick in Televisions. It is biased towards older products, and doesn't accurately reflect the fantastic resource of newer plasmas and LCDs that are on ProductWiki.

Personally, I believe the standard list of products with sorting is a better paradigm (at least in the short term). In the same TV example, I think this list is a better experience. However, I think it's ugly. Can we come up with something that's better?

Here are some options I see:

  1. Top picks (status quo)
  2. List view with improved look-and-feel, sorting and filtering
    • What sort options should be available? (best rated, popular, recent, price, name)
    • How can we calculate "best rated" and "popular"?
    • What should be the default sort?
    • What should the list look like? (I'm leaning towards matching the style of the home page)
    • What information should be in the list (pros/cons, competitors, price, summary, image, etc.)
    • Would search functionality be useful within the list (ie. search HDMI 1.3a within a/v receivers)?
  3. Category specific recent changes
    • look at a feed of recent activity within a category

I think that option 2 would be the best, but there are a few questions remaining. I like the idea of the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) being applied in this case, so a consistent interface would be nice.

Any ideas?

This post was edited by Erik on 5/01/2008 10:44 AM
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You could always go with some for of time-period specific filitering so old stuff isn't compared to new stuff. I like the searching mentioned and thing #2 would be the best way to go. Matching the home page would be nice, but I kind of also like the "Top Picks" view even though it's not all that accurate. Intersting thread, I'll have to contemplate this more.

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Perhaps another community IRC meeting is due...

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I agree. This would be a great chance for a community meeting.

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My current thinking is something along the lines of the home page STYLE of list for consistency, maybe expanded a bit to add competitors like the current "Top Picks" view. And then adding the sorting/filtering capabilities of the flat list, so just combine 3 different "product list" views into one. Then I'd make the default sort a "bumping" mechanism, similar to forums where the report that has had activity most recently shows up at the top.

In regards to filtering it'd be nice if there was a keyword option. I know we're looking into this, if only Google could let us do a litttttle more. Maybe one of the other search guys can lend a hand? Most likely not...

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This is the current plan:

  • Leaf categories (no sub-categories. ex: a/v receivers, televisions)

    • styled similarly to the home page
    • default sort by recent activity (number of edits/votes in the last week, month, year)
    • add the ability to sort products by MSRP, best/average store price, how many people "have" the product, release date
    • add a mini, category-version of the recent changes feed for the category (eg. a/v receivers feed) that links to a full-blown category feed
    • filter by "facets" like manufacturer, product line, etc.
    • add an inline list of competitors to each product with a link to the respective report
  • High-level categories (with sub-categories, ex: home & garden, electronics)
    • retooled, restyled as more of a directory page listing the most popular leaf categories
    • list all leaf categories with more of a sitemap feel
    • category-specific feed, same as leaf categories
    • no list of products

Not exactly sure when it'll get put up, but hopefully within a few weeks.

Please feel free to chime in if you have any ideas/improvements/complaints.

 

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