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I am trying to nail down a good experience for user's who want to browse added beer reviews for my upcoming site. I'd like it to be a fun experience so I've tried a few different ways of displaying added data.

One layout uses a traditional feed that user's can sort through, while the other uses a series of blocks (like Pinterest), to allow for exploration of reviews and reviews with photos.

Example 1:

Example 2:

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Hi Sean, welcome to UX! Can you define what you mean by "more useful"? Right now we can't help you very well because what you're asking is too vague/broad. – Rahul Aug 29 '11 at 15:34
Yes, I just made the correction. I hope it's enough! – Sean Aug 29 '11 at 16:37
Design 2 is certainly more interesting to look at but much harder to scan through. Is there a difference between the left and right column Like / Not Like etc? – Barfieldmv Oct 12 '11 at 8:56

I definitely prefer example 2 assuming I'm arriving at the site and am looking for something to grab my interest. The uneven layout caused by images of different sizes is distracting and makes scanning a little harder, and might benefit from a standard size for each post, including an image where available as a thumbnail so you can control its size, and let people see the full image with a click or even a mouseover.

You could also look at giving people a way to tune their browsing based on metadata. For example, a control to show only posts with a certain star rating or greater.

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Thank you for this feedback. Yeah I'll definitely explore consistent sizing for the grid to see if that helps or hurts the exploration – Sean Aug 29 '11 at 19:12

The best layout depends on what you are trying to communicate.

I think the feed layout (Example 1) is good to emphasize chronology. It can be interesting to order the items by time to engage people in a conversation. They can reply to each other or comment on the beer they are drinking while watching the TV match.

On the other hand, the block layout (Example 2) allows you to compose a richer story. You can group the best and the worst reviews in two different groups (lovers vs. heaters).

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Using chronology (example 1) is a good way to keep things rolling. If you combine it with other sorts of criteria, you can get interesting results. For example, you could show the highest scoring beers reported in the last day/week. Beside that, you could show the "funnier/funner" lowest scoring beers reported in the last day/week. Another option is the "random beer" approach, which emphasizes on exploration.

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If I were you I would try to mix the first option with the second. Let it be a vertically scrollable chronological list, but with the possibility of attaching pictures (just like in option 2).

The vertical (infinite) scrolling has well spread all over the internet because of Facebook and Twitter, so just use it.

And I think already in the beginning use CSS3 and fluid layout to optimize the website for different screen resolutions (laptop, tablet, mobile).

Regarding 2nd option: it is hardly readable, cluttered, but exciting. so the success is unsure. Maybe you could offer both views for users, it would be exciting to test them. (but if it takes too much effort, skip it)

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