Monday, November 12, 2012

Small suggestion to improve Search Results

Over the last few years the ability to effectively search web shops such as Amazon for a specific item has improved tremendously. We’ve seen the addition of metadata, filtering on preferred brand, price range and whatever other bit of information can be thought of. We’ve had search pages make suggestions to us like a real person; “You like that?! Well hang on to your hat cause you’ll love this!” 

All of which is awesome to make informed decisions, but people are very visually oriented. It’s much easier to choose between different products if you see them in front of you, than it is to choose between different technical specification sheets.

There is a reason why physical stores have items on display, and not just a bunch of post-it notes with descriptions of the products they sell. 

Lets say I want to buy a computer mouse. I’ll have some cool things I can filter on; price range, does it need to be wireless, how many buttons should it have. After doing that I will still have hundreds if not thousands of options to choose from:

Eleven something thousand in this particular case. That’s a lot of scrolling and clicking next until I find the right one. All of the results qualify according to the metadata filters I placed, so how do I determine the right mouse for me? I look at the pictures. If I like the look of one, I’ll look at the details. It’s like window-shopping only more tedious because there are hundreds of pages to search through.

Why not give users the option to display only the images? preferably as many as will fit on my screen and still give me the option to filter on metadata

Simple idea, simple to make, great improvement on the find-ability of products. 

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