Just one slider, but not so simple

Just one slider, but not so simple.

Yahoo! Mindset
is standard Yahoo search with one new feature, a slider with “Shopping”
on one end and “Researching” on the other. The default position is dead
center, and if you slide to the left or right your results are updated

The slider

tech works. Sliding toward “Researching” tends to bring out more
reviews and more discussions. Sliding to “Shopping” throws you straight
into the market. It looks simple at first, but here’s where they went
wrong: The slider is 300px wide with a continous motion from one side
to the other. That means there are 300 settings to choose from. And what does 27% from the left mean anyway?

sure the elegant and abstract Shopping-Researching continuum appeals to
the science types behind Mindset, but it won’t mean squat to searchers
until A) the problem is better defined and B) the interface is
redesigned to reflect that.

Based on the current interface, I’m going to guess Yahoo has defined the problem like this:

People want to decide between commercial and noncommercial results.

This is too fuzzy. Here’s one way to refocus:

Sometimes when people search, lots of results for online stores get in the way of the information they want.

A more focused problem suggests a simpler interface. Instead of 300 settings, three options would do the trick:

  • Show me all results
  • Just show me online stores
  • Show me results without online stores

Or even simpler, a single checkbox: [X] Don’t show online stores in my results.

kudos to Yahoo for the neat research. I’m sure that as they move
forward they’ll come to see that even having only one slider doesn’t
necessarily make the interface simple.  [Signal vs. Noise]

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