This is Exhausting – Lists Need an Order!

It’s time for me to upgrade my phone. I’d settled on the iPhone 6, 64GB, in Silver.

With my provider (Fido), you have to reserve your phone and they’ll let you know when it’s available. I filled out my info and then got this list of choices:

This form drop down list is not ordered in any particular way.

If you can tell me why the options are in the order they are, I will give you a prize.

As it is, I had to exhaustively read through the entire list to find the phone I was looking for. I could not rely on any normal way you might order these options:

  • By phone model (6 vs. 6+)
  • By storage capacity
  • Not even by colour!

This is bad – it makes it really hard to find the choice I’m looking for. This would be even worse on a mobile device, where you wouldn’t be able to see all of the options at the same time.

Please make sure your lists have some sort of order to them, so that your users don’t have to exhaustively search through the whole thing to find the option they want.

How should this form drop down list be built?

How would I build this list, you ask? Well, if I had to put them all in the same list, I would do:

  • 6, 16GB, Gold
  • 6, 16GB, Silver
  • 6, 16GB, Space Grey
  • 6, 64GB, Gold
  • 6, 64GB, Silver
  • 6, 64GB, Space Grey
  • 6, 128GB, Gold
  • 6, 128GB, Silver
  • 6, 128GB, Space Grey
  • 6+, 16GB, Gold
  • 6+, 16GB, Silver
  • 6+, 16GB, Space Grey
  • 6+, 64GB, Gold
  • 6+, 64GB, Silver
  • 6+, 64GB, Space Grey
  • 6+, 128GB, Gold
  • 6+, 128GB, Silver
  • 6+, 128GB, Space Grey

I’m assuming that customers will likely think of model first, then narrow it down from there. Note also that all of the options are ordered – 6 then 6+, increasing storage capacity, and colours in alphabetical order.

But I would probably test the efficiency of that against doing three separate lists:

  1. Choose your model (6 or 6+)
  2. Choose your storage (16, 64, or 128GB)
  3. Choose your colour (gold, silver, or space grey)
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