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I'm working with a client on a Discover/Explore feature for their mobile app. (Think of the pattern used by iTunes, Google Play etc. Essentially grouping the content into interesting categories like 'Top Rated', 'Trending' etc):

The content is location based (tour guides submitted by users.) If you're in a popular area like New York it might have 1000s of tour guides available to show. Whereas a small town might return a handful or none.

My question is about length. Typically you don't see products push this list of groups too far beyond 10 rows. I think they do this to keep it concise and selective. You'd be diluting the curation aspect of the groups if it got too granular and went on forever?

However the client is adamant we should keep showing these groups until we basically run out of content or grouping criteria. Even if that is 25 rows and the app has started presenting them as:

Row 25: Easy New York Tour Guides in an Hour.

Row 26: Medium New York Tour Guides in an Hour. etc

I'm really struggling to articulate to the client why it is a better user experience to keep this list of groups manageable. Has anyone got any previous experience with this type of feature or have further input on the strategy behind them? Thanks

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The key strength of curated items is that you add value to the content. A select amount of items conveys a sense of quality, especially when tied to social proof (ratings, rankings, reputation etc.). Given that you are already working with limited space, you need to carefully select which tours are the most important to you and create the best first impression. Be sure to only show a handful of 'top picks, featured tours, most popular'. Users are more likely to make a decision when there are fewer options to choose from. Too much choice leads to choice overload stress.

Your client probably interprets this as withholding content.

So, what he needs to know:

There's a time and place for everything. Quite literally. Curated tour lists are mostly going to entice users that don't know what they're looking for yet. They're browsing until they see something that piques their interest. Hence the discovery and exploration aspect. To add to this, most people do not browse all content that is behind sliders, so showing literally everything will only dilute the experience.

What you can do to accommodate your client is to add a 'View all X' button or text link next to each curated list. You link this button to an overview page with all the tours and offer a way to filter with more specific criteria. This way you counter choice overload and give a better environment to browse everything to your users.

For a concrete example, take a peek at the Airbnb app and website. They employ the same strategies.

  • Brilliant response, thanks :) Within the app the user has existing contexts to search and filter 'all' the results. As this a Discover/Explore feature, it does seem essential to select the most relevant content and show it to the user. The less selective the content, the more general and uninteresting it becomes! – redpanda Oct 27 '17 at 15:42

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