I've been tasked with building a "chooser" website which helps users find a service (or maybe more than one) that helps them solve a problem, in a domain they're unfamiiar with.
The basic problem we're trying to solve is: there are users who want to do something spatial (map-based) with their data, but they have no idea what tools or services exist, don't know the relevant terminology (geocoding, spatial analysis, different visualisation types etc), and wouldn't know how to get started.
Our target audience is academics in the humanities and social sciences.
It would basically function like this:
- Ask questions about the kind of data they have.
- Ask questions about what they are trying to achieve.
- Make suggestions about services that might fit, and how they would fit their workflow. Or admit that we don't have any solutions for them.
- Also, (optionally, with consent) record their responses so we better understand the landscape.
It would be a heavily curated database, not an open ended service catalog where anything can be dumped.
Is this a good solution?
Now it occurs to me that I can't think of a good example of this pattern. And therefore, I'm skeptical that it even is a good pattern.
In favour of this pattern (compared to, say, a simple list with a filter):
- The user will need a lot of education in order to answer the questions. Each question is likely to need a paragraph of text to explain the relevant terms.
- Some questions will depend on others.
So the question I'm asking:
- Are there good examples of this pattern? (And if so, what makes them good?
- What alternative ways of solving this problem might be better?