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I've attached an image of the current implementation (custom control and arrows), but to me it feels too clunky and awkward because of the custom slide control. Our client seems to like the "3-Up" layout so i'm trying to find solutions that fit in with this, though I would love to persuade the client to consider some alternative options.

enter image description here

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    Unless the product the user wants is very likely in the 1st three items every time, this pattern is likely burdensome to the user. Before talking alternatives - I'm wondering how much space you have to work with. Is this for a desktop web design? And do you have most/all of the page to work with, or is this a widget on a busy page? Also, do the pictures alone differentiate the products, or does the user really need to see the title, description, details etc all at a glance? – James Christie May 1 '15 at 0:56
  • Hi James, thanks for the reply! It is a web app, it covers the entirety of the page. The title, price and features are the differentiator. – MrTDandy May 1 '15 at 16:27
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Try Recommending instead of showing equal choices.

The paradox of choice is a funny thing. You can give someone so many options that they no longer have any options at all. There are plenty of psychological studies that show how paralyzing too many choices can be.

Presenting tons of options can be a barrier to entry.

In order to combat such analysis paralysis, try emphasizing and highlighting certain options above others.

choice source: goodui.org


Only show the most popular products

You can ease the burden on new comers by only showing the most popular products and a link to the rest for people who really want to search through more of them.

popular


Chunk them into smaller groups of similar products

Sometimes there really are a lot of equally valid options where recommending one over another is just a dice roll. In these cases you can usually group similar products so the user can choose from just a sub-set of products that are easier to digest.

groups

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  • I really appreciate your feedback, this is great thank you! – MrTDandy May 1 '15 at 16:22
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    My pleasure. I know you will be back many times to do the same for others because UX Stack Exchange is awesome! – DaveAlger May 1 '15 at 18:44
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I agree with your opinion that the current design is clunky. Unless you're trying to be really innovative, and your users are open to the discovery process, it's generally not good practice to design an interface that people have to learn how to use.

There are some really common design patterns that accomplish exactly what you're trying to do, minus the 3-up constraint. REI.com, for example, displays a grid with a default maximum of 30 products per page (expandable to up to 90) for any given product range. Zappos.com uses a similar design pattern to display their products. Displaying a grid like this will allow the user to quickly and naturally scan through a range of products without forcing them to stop and think first.

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