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Consider a large question-bank site. The questions are tagged with course and topics and have meta-ratings like difficulty, frequency in exams etc. A user can open the question and do it, and the site can recommend other related questions based on it. But, what will the user like more? Assume that there are large number of questions, and there is a powerful filter tool implemented.

A) Filter and Explore the Questions he wants (Like Amazon/Ebay)

B) Get a Sorted List of Recommended Questions (Like Youtube)

C) Mix of Both (but in what proportion?)

  • We can't really tell which one of the options your users will like more. You should ask them. Or look for similar sites than yours and see what they have done. – locationunknown Jan 24 '18 at 6:36
  • @locationunknown Asking them is really the option to go to, but I would like to know about how generally the user experience differs across the options and which is preferred by most. – aswinshenoy Jan 24 '18 at 6:42
  • @locationunknown There are very few websites offering extensive meta-filters, most just pull up recommendations. But they don't give the opportunity to the user to explore the different questions and pick as they want. So I was wondering whether people like to choose what they want or get others to recommend what they would like? – aswinshenoy Jan 24 '18 at 6:45
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I agree with @locationunknown, you should ask your future users.

Given your description, I am wondering what you want the recommendations to be based upon: simple frequency of prior use will not really help, as you seem to have different topics and different levels of expertise in your set. So the first question with (B) is how you want to bootstrap the recommendations (user profile, last few questions taken, etc.).

The main difference that I see between (A) and (B) is where the initiative is coming from: (A) requires the user to search/filter/explore, while (B) requires the system to present proposals. As we don't know anything about your users (their motivation, their proficiency, their frequency of use), it's hard to choose between these two fundamental options.

That's also the reason why the question in (C) does not make much sense, I believe: If you support both ways of access, the proportion of (A) vs (B) is determined by how often the user will take the lead and search for something, instead of clicking one of the recommendations. You (as designer or system) cannot really define that proportion.

  • Hmm.... that makes sense. I will make a prototype and run a small-scale test for both the scenarios and maybe look for the third. Thank you so much for your time and help :) – aswinshenoy Jan 28 '18 at 7:34
  • Good luck for your tests! – virtualnobi Jan 31 '18 at 7:43

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