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In a marketplace, what do you think will be better: Making a sentence that the user completes by picking from several options that lead to results base on his request, or just showing featured items (most sold, most popular, etc.)?

For example a sentence like in this link, where clicking the underlined words opens a drop down selection: http://tympanus.net/Tutorials/NaturalLanguageForm/enter image description here

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Is this for the home page template? Why not use both? While the question may be clear to you, please note you may need to elaborate more and/or give examples. –  Izhaki Sep 23 '13 at 18:52
    
Thanks, I added an example I hope its more clear now. You are suggesting to have the featured items below the sentence? –  Ita-S Sep 23 '13 at 19:42
    
Opentable, Yelp, Tripadvisor, michelin... all use a check box version after choosing the location. So I guess people are used to that kind of filtering. –  ColdCat Nov 25 '13 at 14:41
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3 Answers

Could you do both? CoFoundersLab uses a hybrid of the two options you propose, defaulting a user to see relevant profiles (analogous to your "featured items") in his or her city based on IP address, while providing the ability to refine the options using dropdowns within the sentence:

CoFoundersLab

An advanced search button allows the user to further refine their search.

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If the filters are used to filter down a list of results then I'd say a standard filter toggle/check list will be idea.

Using the sentence is not exactly scalable and it might not make sense to put all the filters in one sentence. For instance, you might be able to put most sold and most popular in one sentence but if you later decided to add 5 other filters then it can get complicated. Putting the filters in a sentence also means that you require the users to set a filter otherwise the sentence is not complete.

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IMO, you should use facets to provide for search and navigation across the results there in. It's about discovering the information and then easily reading or changing the view of the search results. The challenge with the sentence-based approach is complexity. It relies on natural language processing, and it definitely will present challenges if you decide to offer languages other than English (as shown).

You can see examples of facets here: http://www.oracle.com/webfolder/ux/apphttp://www.slideshare.net/Kalbach/designing-for-discovery-with-faceted-navigation

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