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Products structured in categories as opposed to dynamic filters?

6:57 pm on Jun 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Jan 18, 2008
votes: 0

I'm trying to create a generic Product management system that the majority of our customers could use. We deal with all types of businesses so it has to be extremely generic.

Of course there is the good old category, subcategory method etc... but this is very limiting and customers have been asking for more flexibility.

so i've been pondering different methods. one being, there are is no category structure at all and the way users narrow down their search is by selecting a filter option. for example, users can select a price range first, then a color, then a size. or a size first, then a color etc.

i would have to set it up so that the admin can modify the name of the filters and all the possible options under that filter. Then they would have to go in and choose which products apply to which options. so thats more work for them.

before i go investing all this time to make it happen, i'm curious if i'm missing any pitfalls associated with this method. i'm also curious how SE's are going to view a lack of categories. any thoughts are appreciated!

8:36 am on June 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:Oct 10, 2003
votes: 2

A lot of customers don't really get the category organisation, you know that different types of products are in different categories, so whatever you do has to be dead simple. It also has to be indexable by a search engine, so a mechanism relying on lots of forms won't work too well from that angle. Elastic Path have a kind of filtering mechanism you describe and we haven't found that many people "getting" what it's about. A better solution would be to have a kind of expert system guiding people through the selection purpose, but that wouldn't be indexable so can't be implemented on its own.