B7 Popularity-Based Organization

B7 Popularity-Based Organization

Figure B7.1. Billboard shows customers the top music hits, from top-selling CDs to singles and airplays. Customers can also view top hits by music genres, as well as by number of hits on the Web.

(www.billboard.com, September 1, 2001)


graphics/common.jpg Background

Used as part of MULTIPLE WAYS TO NAVIGATE (B1) and BROWSABLE CONTENT (B2), this pattern provides a way to organize content related by popularity.

graphics/common.jpg Problem

Some customers want to see which content or products are the most popular. But without clear labels of how you rated the content, over what period, popularity lists are useless.

Some customers enjoy seeing what other customers think is popular. Whether a list of most-purchased products, a controlled democratic tally, or a popularity contest, these lists are intriguing, no matter how they are displayed. But if the list of rated items does not clearly indicate how others rated the content, it becomes suspicious and ineffective.

How to Create a List

Your ability to find the most popular items on your site can be a fairly straightforward matter, or it can be devilishly complex. Do you buy the list of content ratings from a provider (such as the New York Times Best-Seller Lists)? Do you use a RECOMMENDATION COMMUNITY (G4), where you ask customers to rate your content? For example, IFILM asks visitors to rank short films on a scale from 1 to 5. Or do you automatically extract the information from customers' page views or purchases? In the example in Figure B7.2, Yahoo! provides a page where customers can review the most e-mailed news photographs and news stories of the previous six hours.

Figure B7.2. Yahoo! has a popularity-based news Web page that shows the most popular stories and photographs, according to the number of times they were e-mailed by customers. (Reproduced with permission of Yahoo! © 2000 by Yahoo! Inc. YAHOO!and the YAHOO! logo are trademarks of Yahoo! Inc.)

(www.yahoo.com, August 26, 2001)


How to Determine the Time Period for Taking Measurements

Customers will expect the list of content to be interesting news or to have historical value. The most popular content from three months ago will not be interesting, unless three months ago coincided with an important event. The most popular information from this week, compared to last week, might be interesting if enough movement has occurred.

From the information you have gathered, build a rating that changes frequently enough that visitors coming back on a regular basis will see movement. If customers come back daily, you should have enough information to show a daily best. If customers come back every month, monthly or quarterly scores might be more appropriate.

In Figure B7.3, IFILM shows visitors its top-viewed short films for the current week, as well as its top-rated short films of all time. The Lycos 50 Daily Report shows the 50 most popular search terms for that week (see Figure B7.4). Sometimes, just for fun, Lycos features special categories, such as the most popular teen singers or the most popular actors.

Figure B7.3. IFILM's homepage shows an easily read list of the most popular short films.

(www.ifilm.com, December 7, 2001)


Figure B7.4. The Lycos 50 Daily Report shows visitors the 50 most popular customer search subjects on its search engine. (© 2001 Lycos, Inc. Lycos® is a registered trademark of Carnegie Mellon University. All rights reserved.)

(50.lycos.com, August 26, 2001)


graphics/common.jpg Solution

Build your lists of popular content from customer usage, customer ratings, or acquired outside lists. Label each list with a descriptive title that indicates what you rated and over what period.

Figure B7.5. Show the most popular content, but be sure to descriptively label how it was rated, and to show the time period that the ratings cover.


graphics/common.jpg Consider These Other Patterns

Integrate multiple popularity-based organization lists into levels of a HIERARCHICAL ORGANIZATION (B3). Use CATEGORY PAGES (B8) as directories to content in subcategories. Employ customer usage meters, a RECOMMENDATION COMMUNITY (G4), or acquired data to generate your lists. Also show your customers the time period you used to acquire the data.

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