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I have a mobile app that allows you to browse lists of songs:

[a][b][c][d][e]
Elvis - Song 1
Elvis - Song 2
Elvis - Song 3
Ernie Wood - Song 4

You can jump to the letter to filter based on the first character of the artist name. But this is not enough, there is 170k song titles, so there still is a lot of scrolling based on the first character (500 to 1000+ for just the letter E). Is there a better way of designing a navigation around a large collection like that?

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    You might do better on the UX site. BTW: I like the way the old iPod nanos did with with the soft scroll wheel - based on the speed it would swap between scroll by letter and scroll by row. A smarter version might let you scroll by sub-letter. – dave Dec 19 '14 at 5:20
  • Autocomplete searching might have your back here. However, I agree with @dave that the UX site is probably where this question will get the most useful responses. – the-undefined Dec 19 '14 at 7:04
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How about combining them by singer?

[a][b][c][d][e]

Elvis - (13 songs)
Ernie Wood - (2 songs)

Browsing is helpful for users who are not familiar with artists. For those who are familiar and looking for specific songs/artists, search function would be best.

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In this case a real time filtering text box would do the trick. Just as Spotify implement their search on all apps whether on smartphone web or TV. For every letter entered, the list filters imediately to show relevant content. For 170k items, this would be your best option.

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Although Alphanumeric filter links are generally a valid design pattern, I can't imagine someone enjoying browsing through 500+ items unless they're really bored. If I were designing this I'd go with categorized listing with search option.

In your case the categories could be Rock, Pop, Classic etc., perhaps with sub-categories. One frequently used design approach is to show the list of categories (often with icons), having the most popular / trending / featured titles prominently displayed, with the search bar at the top. This is what they do in Snapguide and Tumblr's mobile app.

Another example is Quora's search screen, which is mostly blank with just the search bar at the top and auto-complete as you type.

There are more ways, but the point is that with search, the list of song titles is narrowed down to just a few to a few dozen search results. You could then allow sorting by title, date, popularity etc. to complete the search experience.

You may still provide an option to browse 'all titles' using alphanumeric filters as an alternative option, just not as the default one.

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