I’ve rarely thought about how to make online shopping better. I’ve kind of just gone to a website, done a few searches, and bought what looked like a good fit. Sadly, this doesn’t work for complex devices like cameras and laptops — anything with more than one or two identifying characteristics — and, as a result customers often have to go to brick and mortar stores to look at devices before we seal the deal online.
UK-based AnswerOil is an attempt to improve this process considerably by by offering a slider-based search system. What does that mean? You begin by selecting a category — cameras, laptops, milking machines — and then choosing a pre-set number of characteristics — megapixels, processors, memory, teat connections — or selecting less popular characteristics like color or size. You then prioritize and “weight” these characteristics according to importance. All of the changes are performed dynamically, allowing perfect matches to bubble to the top and less interesting devices to fall in ranking. There is a complete demo here which really shows the sliders in action.