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I'm working on a site and have a bit of a headache.

The site sells products such as books and places on events, as part of the rebuild we want to combine these onto a single results listing page which can be searched by keyword, or navigated to by a taxonomy term which then pre-filters the result set.

The headache comes when trying to set a default sort. On keyword search, relevancy to the keyword makes complete sense. However, on taxonomy term I have an issue.

Latest seems the obvious but as products are relatively timeless and events are very timely this causes an issue as all upcoming events will be higher in the listing than products (which have been uploaded a few months prior but are still relevant.

I could move to something around most viewed, but then the events sort order doesn't seem logical as it makes sense for them to be in date order.

I'm not sure there is a solution to this but if anyone has any suggestions or has solved this UX challenge before then it would be greta to hear!

Cheers

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I'm sure you have your reasons for showing both types in a single list, but does it really happen that often that somebody wants to see both products and events at the same time? It will most definitely make it less obvious at first and might even lose you clients.

But if you can give each item in the list the same height, you might want to go for a two column option? All the events on the left and products on the right? If you make the height the same, then it will still feel as one list, which you can scroll normally. Then you can sort products alphabetically and events on date. Perhaps even a separate sort option for each column.

Another option could be to have the list alternating. Show the events based on date and then after every event show a product. If you use an odd/even color scheme for the background it will make it even more clear what is what.

Both these options are based on the assumption that there are roughly an equal amount of events and products. If you have like 5 events for every 50products, it might not be that much of a problem to just show the events first, if you provide an options to only see products if I really don't care about events.

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You can see I nice solution on Russian social network VK.com.

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    Yes. Separate the types and sort each type appropriately. Good answer. – Ken Mohnkern Jul 17 '14 at 12:37
  • I've gone with a combination of all these answers so thanks for your input. What I've landed on is a) a combined page for keyword search, ordered by relevancy with filters to drill down into various facets. b) a page for event listing, and a page for product listing when a facet is clicked on. On these pages the relevant type of results are shown with a sidebar showing "these events also match your search criteria" to help the cross pollination. Thanks all. – mikejlj Jul 18 '14 at 8:24
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You can take iTunes store for example. It shows how search results are presented in multiple lists, making it possible to sort each list independently and to present content as it looks best for its type.

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