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We run a social media search engine. We offer our users to save the advanced search queries & reports they build for future use. We have a dedicated "Saved Items" page that somewhat resembles the "files & folders" concept that's familiar from places like Google Docs, etc.

Which should be the default sorting rule? By item title (alphabetically, that is), or by last-viewed-date?

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By its popularity. How many time user went looking for that particular query. –  user117 Oct 11 '12 at 7:56
    
@wingman Thanks, I haven't thought about popularity. This is also a way to sort based on the actual usage. But I'm thinking I'll stick to last-viewed, as recent items might be more useful than just my "all time favorites". That said, I'm not even sure we store popularity data at all... But I'll put it in our wishlist! :-) –  Itay Banner Oct 11 '12 at 11:25

2 Answers 2

You say you offer users to save search queries & reports they build for future use, now if I were user of your system my latest search queries & reports are more important that that the older one i.e sort by date will be my choice.

Reason : IMO my search & report making skills will increase by time so my latest search will be giving me more relevant and accurate data. While the search queries written earlier may be useless as back then I was not familiar to your system.

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In addition to Amandeep's answer I would say that it also depends on how you expect users of your service to use the saved items. Is it possible that a user has a range of prepared queries saved up that searches for different things, or is it more probable that a user has one (or two perhaps) single search items that they constantly revisit to update for new types of searches?

If the answer is the former, then users will probably have a range of search items prepared that are titled according to what type of information the item will search for. In that case a user will find it much easier to relocate a specific item if the list is alphabetically ordered rather than ordered by last-viewed.

To give an answer that could be considered "correct" you need to know what the majority of users will look for when opening the list of saved search items.

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