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What design layout do studies (if any) show is more effective when reccommending content to users based on their past user data?: horizontal lists similar to what we see on Amazon's product pages or having just one or two recommendations at a time within a right column as Facebook does? Both are effective in their own right but I'd like to know which vehicle enables users to make more concise decisions.

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I would imagine it depends on what the user is doing. On Amazon, the user is actively trying to buy something, so they might not mind (and may in fact prefer) seeing a list of recommendations front and center. On the other hand Facebook users are not actively looking to buy something so the recommendation list shouldn't distract too much from their other goals on the site. It would be helpful to have more information about your specific case. – angelapotter Dec 14 '13 at 9:01
Facebook actually does it... Recommendation of pages and Apps in middle of the feed. – Dinesh Golani Jul 21 '14 at 6:50
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Knowing that users read in a "F" pattern. Source:

And knowing that users spend 69% of their time viewing the left half of the page and 30% viewing the right half. Source:

And also knowing that users spend 80% of their time looking at information above the page fold. Source:

The optimal positions for rec box would be:

enter image description here

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The study about the F-shaped pattern is almost a decade old now. I think this pattern is nothing more than a legacy from the early days of web, when web designers didn't know better than left-hand sidebar and top header. And by the way, viewing patterns are not instinctive, but culturally reinforced, think of the right-to-left writing systems (e.g. Arabic Wikipedia). As web design evolves users get accustomed to new layouts. – Drunken Master Mar 8 '15 at 11:40

Grid of cards is one option that I would recommend. Every recommended item would be on a card with a tittle footer note stating why this was recommended(say based on genre as of previous item) and this would be taking up the column 1 and on next column, it should be based on some other criteria say author in case of books and so on. So the final interface would like like a 4 X 4 grid of cards laid out.

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Welcome to the site, @Balaarjunan! The OP asks what design layout studies show to be effective. Do you know of any studies that would support your opinion? I disagree with it because Lepper and Iyengar's famous Jam Experiments suggest that giving people more options (beyond 6) prevents them from making any selection at all. – Graham Herrli Jan 22 '14 at 3:34

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