UX Compared: Collection Based Interfaces

My site’s purpose is discovering and collecting educational material.

I’ve selected collection based interfaces to better understand what makes them successful and to determine the best way to present collections on my site:

iBooks is a great example to look at because it organizes books- the original container of knowledge. It allows the user to place their books into collections to make them easier to access. It hides these collections behind the “collections” button. I think this is really smart because it’s not overwhelming. The word “Books” at the top reminds me which collection I’m in if I forget where I am. I do wish there was a “View All.”

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The kindle app also allows the viewer to see books in collections, but I think the interface is more confusing with cloud and device at the bottom. It does however, have a view for all items. Also, It allows the user to see how far they are in the book with the dots info-graphic.
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Etsy does a good job at keeping their interface simple and visual. Even without breaking the large amount of info into categories I can quickly scroll down and visually find what I’m looking for pretty quickly.

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The Dropbox app is an example of a “Finder” style file browser but with visual previews. This offers the user a concrete view of their heirarchy of the structure of their files. This interface is very useful, but for my purposes I would want to change two things: Make the file list hide away (to make less choices apparent to the user ) and to make the visual preview more plentiful — If the viewer could show multiple previews like the Etsy image above (or large icon view with info in the Apple Finder ) I think it would be easier for learners to find their stuff.

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YouTube does a nice job of this. The collections or “Playlists” are a group of videos that have a thumbnail image associated them to clue the user into what type of content is inside. I still have to click into the Playlist to see what’s inside.

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iTunes breaks down information that is already grouped together – Albums. It allows for browsing by category that is clear and understandable.

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iTunes U Presents already curated content in classes similar to syllabi from top universities. They are smart to make this information easily available. Similar to my idea, they list the type and duration of the content. As an already curated course, the order is important. I would like to allow my user to create their own flow and order for their collections.

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The App Store app allows the user to browse basic information about their search results….

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Then to tap to view more information including a longer description and more preview images. I really like this idea of presenting basic info first then giving more for only the ones the user is interested in.

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The Pinterest interface is the most similar interface I know to what I am trying to do. They are strictly a site based on collections curated by the user. In their app, they present the collections in the form of “Boards” that have visual thumbnails to hint at what’s inside. The interface is clean and easy to navigate. They are however, more focused on the user and social followers that I want my site to be.

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Pinterest’s idea of “View All” — showing all of the users “Pins.”

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