Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Content & navigation ordering options

Jakob Nielsen's title for this article - "Alphabetical Sorting Must (Mostly) Die" - strikes me as overstating things somewhat, but I suppose it grabs the attention. It's a useful article with examples illustrating alternative listing approaches for different contexts, nonetheless.

The reason Nielsen makes his point so strongly in his title is that people rarely think A–Z.
For most questions, either:
  • users don't know the name of the thing they want, making A–Z listings useless; or
  • the items have an inherent logic that dictates a different sort order, which makes A–Z listings directly harmful because they hide that logic.
So there is often good reason to consider alternative approaches. Nielsen goes on to give examples of other, more effective listing strategies for specific scenarios.

Alphabetical Sorting Must (Mostly) Die - article by Jakob Nielsen

Craig Tomlin has written a good follow up article which goes into detail about how and when alphabetical sorting might be the best option.

Why Jakob Nielsen got it (mostly) wrong - article by Craig Tomlin on

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