A common component of a product category page is the sort menu. User could usually sort the products by price, ratings or from A-Z. I guess that you would use the alphabetical sorting to find a specific product that you already know the name of but to me this is a blunt solution. To me - a product autocomplete search box that could match letters both in the beginning and in the middle including product variations would be a more effective solution than to let the user wade through a lot of pages just to find the first letter that a product begins with.

Do you see any other benefits for sorting from A-Z that I've missed?

  • A-Z sorting gives items stable relative positions when other filters - such as a quick search - are in effect.
    – peterchen
    Jan 22, 2013 at 11:27

2 Answers 2


If the number of products is expected to be large say 500-1000, then

According to me, product filter box would be much better. You can specify a text-box on top of the list having placeholder "Type product name to search". As and when user types on the search box, product list should get filtered. If the user wants to see all the products, then he needs to clear the product filter text box.

If the number of products are not expected to be large, but user recognize product by its name, then

In this case, cataloging (A-Z listing) by name would make sense. A fitting example for using catalog would list of movie names which people are likely to remember.

If number of products are not expected to be large, but user still may not recognize the product by name, then

Fitting example of this scenario would be Shipment listing. Shipments will be recognized by its shipment number which will not be that easy to remember. In such a case, sorting by date is the better idea.


I have found no use for A-Z sorting unless no other information is available to sort with. It may make sense in a list of classmates, for example, who are otherwise identical as data points (it would make no sense to sort by age), but if you're sorting products (sort by price) or restaurants (sort by rating, distance) sorting these in alphabetical order is a relic of the analog age when no other options were available.

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