I am confused about how to present multiclass classification taxonomies to the end user on a consumer app. If an item or even an entire subcategory can be classified under different parent categories, what's the simplest way to presenting that to the user.

For example, suppose I have -

  • how things work > home gadgets > refrigerators > how refrigerators work > articles 1-n
  • home gadgets > how things work > refrigerators > how refrigerators work > articles 1-n
  • home gadgets > product reviews > reviews of various refrigerators > articles 1-n

My question has two parts -

  1. What could be a good UI approach to presenting this?
  2. How does this mesh with search? Suppose someone searches for "refrigerator". What should my search results include? Just the actual articles? Or should I also indicate the different subcategories?

I am still formulating thoughts on the question, so if it can be improved please feel free to comment/suggest edits.

1 Answer 1


A good reference for you would be e-commerce websites, where a single product might be part of several different types of categories. So that the same shirt might be found via classification by season, gender, color, sale, brand, cut, fabric and so on.

The search results might go both ways, depends on your business goals. By including just the articles themselves you get a much cleaner and focused UI, without introducing a large additional level of complexity with the different categories leading to the same place. But by including the categories you're encouraging the user to explore additional items in the same categories, which is certainly important in an e-commerce setting.

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