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Ecommerce Guidelines: Product Page Sorting

Guidelines 155-159

Ecommerce Best Practices » Product List & Search Results Page » Usability » Sorting

Sorting creates a significantly more efficient search process with one click. Users can re-organize a product list to match their needs. On a budget and want to see the least expensive items first? Looking for the newest version of a product? The sorting tool quickly allows people to find what they’re looking for.

Because sorting is such a popular and common tool, it needs to be optimized.

It also needs to work:

When I typed in the term “earbuds” and sorted by best selling, the number one match wasn’t even earbuds.

The following sorting guidelines offer design ideas and explain which sorting options are essential.

I would rather be able to sort by sleeve length, price and color, rather than shirt type.

5 guidelines for ecommerce product list & search results page sorting:

  1. Follow convention: Design sorting options as dropdown box near top of page, labeled “Sort by”.
  2. When sorting a product list via customer ratings, take number of ratings into account.
  3. When sorting by price: offer sorting for item price and/or price per unit.
  4. Offer original date (of production, publication,etc) sorting option for products whose original date is relevant.
  5. Suggested scope and sorting can be helpful for large product lists.

Guideline #155. Follow convention: Design sorting options as dropdown box near top of page, labeled “Sort by.”

Increase usability by placing tools (and other design elements) where they belong. In this case, place the sorting tool on the top right of the product list.

If this location doesn’t work for your site, the second most common spot for sorting options is above the filters on the left hand side of the page.

The “Sort by” label again lends itself to conventionality.


Guideline #156. When sorting a product list via customer ratings, take number of ratings into account.

Judgements as to whether a 5-star rating with 2 reviews or a 4-star rating with 50 reviews is better are subjective, so be sure to display this information regardless of how you sort and display it.

I would also have liked to be able to sort by the rating if possible. It would be great to be able to have the highest rated items at the top and sort that way.

The reviews and ratings were excellent, and could easily be sorted by rating and other sort options. This made it VERY easy to see low ratings and quickly navigate the reviews section.


Guideline #157. When sorting by price: offer sorting for item price and/or price per unit.

This guideline applies to packages of items that are purchased in bulk.

BodyBuilding.com allows users to sort by price, serving, or gram:

Extremely simple to compare two (or more) separate products side-by-side, even including price per serving.


Guideline #158. Offer original date (of production, publication,etc) sorting option for products whose original date is relevant.

Dates can be important for movies, music, and other forms of art. The date can be publication, production, etc.

Prints.com offers the option to sort prints by their date of addition to the website:


Guideline #159. Suggested scope and sorting can be helpful for large product lists.

This guideline is applicable when a product could belong in multiple categories. For instance, a computer may be found under electronics, office products, or hobbies. By suggesting a scope and/or sorting option, users can quickly narrow down their search.

TigerDirect upon searching “TV” on the site, users are prompted with the choice to select a category:

I really liked that whenever I clicked on something (women, shirts, sweaters) it came up with more options to narrow down my search if I wanted short sleeve or long sleeve or what type of neckline I wanted.

Continue to the next section:

Ecommerce Best Practices » Product Page » Appearance » Design & Copy