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Order Alphabetically Or By Popularity ?


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#1 EGOL

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 01:25 PM

Let's say you have a huge page that displays over 200 different varieties of flowers.  Each flower is presented with a thumbnail image and a short description.  The visitor can click the image or the flower's name to go to an entire page of content about that flower.

 

With over 200 images and descriptions this is a reeeeeeally long page.

 

All of the flowers are attractive, some of them are beautiful, some of them are interesting.   Some are extremely popular but others are unheard of by the average person.  Huh?

 

This is a HUGE page.   If you list them alphabetically the ones above the fold might include some that are not quite as attractive as others and most will be unknown to the average person - because most people only know a few dozen types of flowers but botanists have discovered many different kinds.

 

We know that the site is visited by typical people who know about a few dozen varieties of flowers.... so.... do we place the most popular at the top and give the visitor a serendipitous visit that impresses them upon landing???.... or do we arrange them alphabetically to make it easy for the visitor to find the type of flower that he/she is looking for.

 

Let's assume that most visitors to this page are not botanists and arrive by searching for "flowers" or "types of flowers"....... or they are on the "botany" site and click a link in the persistent navigation with the anchor text of "flowers".

 

Alphabetically or by popularity (determined by what people click)?

 

Thank you for any opinions , ideas , thoughts.  :-)


Edited by EGOL, 09 March 2014 - 01:26 PM.


#2 cre8pc

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 02:07 PM

BOTH.

 

Alphabetical is easier for scanning when the user knows the name.  For the back end, it helps to show any duplicates in the information architecture.

 

For sales, many purchases are based on how popular an item is with those who bought it.

 

Price is another one.

 

Also, adding an option to View 25, 50, 100, ALL is a user favorite.

 

How an item is used is a great idea that may work on some items, especially the health field.


Edited by cre8pc, 09 March 2014 - 02:09 PM.


#3 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 02:55 PM

Kim, if the page is already huge, then how would arranging them BOTH alphabetically and by popularity be a good idea? Now, you'd have a page that started out being HUGE and ends up being GINORMOUS because everything is listed twice.  I'm guessing maybe you didn't really mean both. Maybe you meant "give the visitor a way to choose to view the page alphabetically if they'd like, but present it to them via popularity upon first load"?

 

Or at least...that would be my answer:

 

Give the visitor a way to choose to view the page alphabetically if they'd like, but present it to them via popularity upon first load.

 

:)



#4 EGOL

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 03:01 PM

BOTH.

 

Thanks Kim, It is logical that you would advocate for the visitor.

 

 

Give the visitor a way to choose to view the page alphabetically if they'd like, but present it to them via popularity upon first load.

 

Good idea... that make the page load with a pretty presentation.... and gives visitors a way to sort.  There could be other sorts too.



#5 glyn

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 03:20 PM

Add filters colour,mood,type,ocassion,alphabetical,popularityand make the filter interface impossible to miss or not understand. I would default view to popularity based on clicks but your seo and ranking might falsely skew the actual popularity so i would use google traffic vo,umes against flowers to get a more natural rank. You mught have a filter "other visitors most popular" which could be basef on onsite data gathering

Edited by glyn, 09 March 2014 - 03:22 PM.


#6 bobbb

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 03:24 PM

TOO late. Looks like all that I could have said is already said :)



#7 EGOL

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 03:27 PM

Thank you glyn.

 

How do you implement the "pages" that are presented for these "sorts".   Are these assembled from a database?  Or are they ready-made pages that display upon click?



#8 iamlost

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 03:35 PM

Let me count the ways... :D

 

I love the use of flowers as an example as the filter possibilities are considerable.

* by taxon/scientific name

* popular name(s)

---many flowers have regional distinct names.

* historic names

---many flowers have enjoyed different names over the years and places.

* colour

* day/night/season (when bloom)

* growing location(s)

* shade/sunlight tolerant

* etc.

 

I would probably stay away from an alpha list as primary given (1) the possible variety of names per flower (2) the probability that many will not know your naming convention.

 

Given the large number (200) I would test 4 to 7 rows each under a different heading, i.e. popular, colour (with each flower in the row a different colour), annual/biannual/perenial (one or two of each in the row), taxon (a double row), etc. Then have the selection open a la accordian style with all the selection associated flowers exposed to view.

Basically treat the thumbnail page as a form.

 

If you know how site searchers query for flowers you have logical groupings already being suggested.

 



#9 glyn

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 03:51 PM

Take each flower like a product with attributes and description. Your main page is just a category with filters. Yes db.

#10 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 03:51 PM

I like the idea of filtering by color.

 

And Egol, using a db is important for this. You could simply apply "tags" to each item. Red, Stinky, Sweet-smelling, Weed, Annual, Perennial, etc. Click on Stinky, and only the stinky flowers show. Click on Red, and only red flowers show. 

 

For SEO purposes, you'd want to canonicalize or noindex any URL versions other than the main view.


Edited by DonnaFontenot, 09 March 2014 - 03:51 PM.


#11 EGOL

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 04:01 PM


For SEO purposes, you'd want to canonicalize or noindex any URL versions other than the main view.

 

Thanks... I didn't think of that. 



#12 glyn

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 05:13 PM

Basically donna brainstorm potential user search habits and code them into the products

#13 tam

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 12:04 AM

Two questions, what are the visitors goals and what are your goals?

 

'Types of flowers' is a really really generic terms - are we talking about people buying cut flowers, buying seeds, planning a garden, looking for artwork? It's going to make a big difference to the way you present the content and options for sorting it. For example, cut flowers is going to include people that have no idea what they want or what the person they are buying for likes so something like popular choices for x occasion is really helpful. Someone growing plants is going to be interested in hardiness, colour, height, ease of growing, shape, flowering period etc.

 

What's your goal? Is it educational, are you selling something? If it's the former you might have a top row of 'unusual/interesting' flowers. If you're selling then your top sellers.

 

It's going to effect not only the order but the content you present. If I'm picking plants to grow, I want a good pic and some key info eg height/hardiness or a way to narrow it down rather than a paragraph of description.


Edited by tam, 10 March 2014 - 12:05 AM.


#14 EGOL

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 04:54 AM

Thank you, Tam.   Very interesting perspective which I need to think aboug.  Great comment and ideas.



#15 jonbey

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 08:31 AM

NEITHER.

 

I would sub-categorize each. Do by colour if flowers, or by some other ingredient / feature if not. 

 

Maybe have a row at the top of most popular. Then sections. Maybe the sections could be ordered in popularity? 

 

I am assuming that it is not flowers .... but if it was, .... you could have flowers for occasions too. Or season. ... 

 

If alpha order I would have another page that was just that - no images. That would be easier to scan I think than having images and additional text.



#16 EGOL

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 09:40 AM

Thanks, Jonbey.

 

I didn't realize that there are so many ways to do this.  :)



#17 cre8pc

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 09:52 AM

I was referring to sorting only.

 

Sub-categories become a taxonomy issue and there are not that many people who know what that is.  We all refer to things differently.

 

Tam is correct. It is ALWAYS what the target customers need that goes first and again, most people have no idea what that is.  

 

Doing any kind of communication via color is an automatic accessibility standards failure for those who can not see and use screen readers to navigate.  Color blind people will not see the colors you choose either.


Edited by cre8pc, 10 March 2014 - 09:55 AM.


#18 glyn

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 10:13 AM

source: https://i.chzbgr.com...0720/h53CEB665/

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#19 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 12:42 PM

Doing any kind of communication via color is an automatic accessibility standards failure for those who can not see and use screen readers to navigate.  Color blind people will not see the colors you choose either.

 

I get that you wouldn't want to do this as the first view, but that shouldn't prevent Egol from offering it as an option, should it?

 

I mean, just because not everyone can see the color red, shouldn't be a reason to not allow those who can see red to filter for it, right? 

 

i.e. Offer the choice to filter by color, so those people who can see colors are able to benefit from that feature, but don't make that the only choice, because then color-blind people will miss out entirely.



#20 cre8pc

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 01:02 PM

i.e. Offer the choice to filter by color, so those people who can see colors are able to benefit from that feature, but don't make that the only choice, because then color-blind people will miss out entirely.
 
Yes.
 
The point I'm trying to make is that findability is not a one size fits all approach.  I like color differences but know they are not seen by many people, or in the way we would like.  And of course, there is how we react to colors...I digress.


#21 TheAlex

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 04:33 PM

Without knowing much about it, I'd have a row of the most popular or prettiest at the top, followed by a list in alphabetical order, with anchor links for each letter (or group of letters) to save people having to scroll.



#22 EGOL

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 04:49 PM

Thank you Alex, that is a great blend.



#23 tam

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 05:06 PM

The ability to combine categories might be helpful, again depending on exactly what you're selling/trying to achieve. For picking plants people often want more than one characteristic eg a particular height and colour or flowering period rather than knowing the name (otherwise it's likely they'll have searched by name).



#24 tommr

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 12:20 AM

If the pages are generated dynamically then how about offering the choice of color, name both common and Latin names as well as popularity and growing zone.
Take a look at some flower catalogs and Audubon books.



#25 glyn

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 03:05 AM

can I just say that my comment is the best by miles, I'm craving social acceptance



#26 iamlost

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 08:06 AM

Glyn's comment is the best by parsecs! Absolutely breath taking in scope.

 

I have it on unattributed authority that Google has added it to their algorithm as an automatic white list effect counterbalancing any and all black hat and negative SEO. As his only self appointed North American agent please make your balance of account payment directly to my Bahamian bank....



#27 glyn

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 08:39 AM

Phew, I just needed that to be clear to all readers. :)



#28 EGOL

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 09:02 AM

Absolutely breath taking in scope.

 

I am looking for an emoticon that has hip boots and a clothes pin.   :)



#29 glyn

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 09:56 AM

EGOL keep your perversions to yourself and your browser history please.



#30 joedolson

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 05:02 PM

Quoting Kim:

 

Doing any kind of communication via color is an automatic accessibility standards failure for those who can not see and use screen readers to navigate.  Color blind people will not see the colors you choose either.

 

For the record, that's not true. It's an accessibility failure only if that's the *only* method of communication. It's entirely legitimate to communicate via color; for some people, that is by far the best way to communicate. It's when you provide no other method of sorting or navigating the content that it becomes an accessibility problem.



#31 AbleReach

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 05:12 PM

Ditto, Joe.

 

I can easily imagine a blind person searching for their honey's favorite color of roses.  Like for anyone else, you'd need to provide a functionally accessible way of getting there - text or an alt or something.



#32 cre8pc

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 08:26 PM

 

that's the *only* method of communication.

 

I meant that.  Just didn't come out that way  <_<



#33 glyn

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 02:44 AM

Of course we all have to remember that somse of the biggest brands on the planet have websites that when evaluated against usability standards, fall apart. But that we should try hard to do out bit to make the web a more friendly place for all.


Edited by glyn, 13 March 2014 - 02:44 AM.


#34 cre8pc

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 09:10 AM

Of course we all have to remember that somse of the biggest brands on the planet have websites that when evaluated against usability standards, fall apart. 

 

As one who has done UX testing on some huge name sites, I can certainly vouch for this.  NONE of them were built properly.



#35 mrgoodfox

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Posted 22 March 2014 - 01:04 PM

I think it would depend on the specific product (Im assuming Flowers is just an example in your post). 

 

The best solution would be to sort them one way or the other by default and allow the user to change the sorting based on whatever they want. 

 

As for the default sorting method....

 

If its a product that people, when browsing for them, know closely what they are looking for (for example high dollar electronics, cars, etc) then alphabetically makes sense. If its a product that people don't know much about (for example me when buying flowers) then sorting them by popularity makes sense because you are helping the customer to make the final decision. 

 

That being said, I've read articles in the past that sorting from Highest Price to Lowest generates the best conversion (taking into effect the price of purchased items). 





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