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As part of a site's advanced filters, I want to give people the ability to filter based on the frequency of results. i.e. "show only results that occur at least once per month" or "show only results that appear at least weekly". Currently this is a slider with granular control for "occurrences per year" (i.e. something that is approximately weekly would have a value of around 52) but users don't seem to find that intuitive and almost nobody touches it.

My idea is to give them the options of:

  • Yearly
  • Quarterly (default)
  • Monthly
  • Weekly

Each of these will increasingly reduce the number of results displayed. The question is how to present that choice:

  1. Slider with four labels
  2. Select box
  3. Radio buttons
  4. Other?

PS: This is related to real estate and researching different areas to live. To clarify, frequency is not the #1 metric - distance/travelling time is. So by default results are sorted first by travelling time and second by frequency. However people won't be interested in researching a neighborhood which meets their price range only once a year - they want perhaps once a month available so it's worth their time researching further.

  • This is related to real estate and researching different areas to live. To clarify, frequency is not the #1 metric - distance/travelling time is. So by default results are sorted first by travelling time and second by frequency. However people won't be interested in researching a neighborhood which meets their price range only once a year - they want perhaps once a month available so it's worth their time researching further. – rgareth Mar 27 '15 at 11:21
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    Even after reading all comments, I still cannot graps what you are trying to do: Are you looking for a single object that has been updated frequently? (You seem to deny this in a comment below.) Or are you looking for a stream of objects where a new one is generated with a certain frequency (like a newsfeed)? Maybe some information about the business/content will help us to understand, and generate ideas. – virtualnobi Apr 20 '16 at 7:15
  • I think this is something that might be better answered with some user research. Asking your users some open-ended questions around how they search other sites that do similar things might help. Perhaps even before that you might start with a competitor review: what are others in the same space doing to answer this user need? Is it a strong need? – Johnny Linnert Feb 2 '18 at 7:20
  • Please put the example of the your slider here. It's hard to grasp the question without the image of the widget. To me, it seems the simple answer is to add the labels you mentioned to your occurences slider. The labels can be clickable to jump to 52 (weekly), 12 (monthly), 4 (quarterly), 1 (yearly) – Vijay Feb 17 '18 at 10:10
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Can we go back a step and ask the question, have you verify that a filter to limit results based on frequency is actually something that users want? It sounds like a highly artificial metric for filtering and I'm wondering if this is the reason why users don't understand how this control works as oppose to them not understand how the UI control works.

What are you trying to do here?

You have lots of results and the user wants to quickly find relevant items. An relevancy is correlated with "frequency of occurrence"? What does the term "frequency of occurrence" mean? Are you trying to say popularity of the item? As in how often other users look at this item? Or are you referring to frequency of updates to the content within the item?

Option 1 with popularity.

Don't bother with filtering. Just sort by popularity. Unless the user need summary statistics for a specific dataset, most people only look at the top items in the search results. This is why SEO is some important in getting your site ranked high in google search results. Only if they can't find what they're looking for will they look further down.

Option 2 with content updates

Suppose your users want "fresh" results. You might want to provide a visual indicator for when items have been updated so they can pick the date range. Delicious.com used to have a very good UI to handle this in their search back in the days. This is the best image I can find.

enter image description here

  • Frequency is definitely an important metric, but it's the second most important. #1 is "traveling time". So the natural approach is to sort by travelling time first, and then by frequency second. But you don't want to waste your time on ones that are 5 mins away but only have the price you need once a year. You probably want ones with availability every week or two so you're not wasting your research time. The type of results are ones where most people won't have the time to research every result so therefore want the ability to filter. – rgareth Mar 27 '15 at 11:17
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    "Don't bother with filtering. Just sort by popularity." - doesn't this imply a self-reinforcing ranking of items that were clicked by many users despite not being what they wanted (for lack of an accurate filter)? – O. R. Mapper Sep 17 '16 at 11:25
  • @O.R.Mapper The OP mentioned this: "Currently this is a slider with granular control for "occurrences per year" (i.e. something that is approximately weekly would have a value of around 52) but users don't seem to find that intuitive and almost nobody touches it." which suggests extra controls aren't necessary. – nightning Sep 18 '16 at 15:52
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    @nightning: So, any feature that is not used in a given (possibly bad/unusable/undiscoverable) implementation is not needed? In particular, cases where given users started using an existing feature only after (and because) its UX had been improved are entirely unheard of? I find that hard to believe. – O. R. Mapper Sep 20 '16 at 14:11
  • @O.R.Mapper I always go with addressing the user problem as oppose to implementing features, because the more stuff you build, the more the users need to deal with and the harder it is to maintain. So what is it that the user needs? Is the implemented solution doing the job of addressing those needs? If the answer is yes it's good enough, then why add extra features to it? If not, then you start looking at improvements. – nightning Sep 20 '16 at 17:14
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I recently had much the same problem. I ended up going with two views. I used a timeline view that went four weeks out that was grouped by each week, then by company, and another view that 'time over four weeks' grouped by company. I would really be cautious about giving the user too much data. In general, they don't want data, they want answers.

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