The Power of Lists and Curated Selections in the Digital Age


Hatched by Glasp

Aug 18, 2023

3 min read


The Power of Lists and Curated Selections in the Digital Age

In today's digital age, the way we search for information and make purchasing decisions has dramatically changed. Traditional search engines have been replaced by curated lists and selections, offering a more streamlined and efficient user experience. This shift in consumer behavior has been recognized by industry experts, such as Benedict Evans, who famously stated, "Lists are the new search."

One of the prime examples of this trend is the unbundling of online marketplaces like Craigslist and Yelp. Rather than presenting users with an overwhelming number of options, these companies have adopted a modern user experience that focuses on curated selections. By narrowing down choices and presenting only the most relevant options, users are able to make decisions more quickly and effectively.

Similarly, the fashion and luxury goods industry has embraced the power of constraint and curation. Instead of overwhelming customers with a vast array of products, many online retailers have adopted a curated approach. By carefully selecting a limited number of high-quality items, these companies are able to appeal to a specific target audience and create a sense of exclusivity.

However, while lists and curated selections have their advantages, there are limitations to this approach. As Benedict Evans points out, all curation grows until it requires search. In other words, as the number of items in a list or curated selection grows, it becomes increasingly difficult for users to find what they are looking for without the aid of a search function. This is exemplified by the failure of Yahoo's hierarchical directory, which collapsed under its own weight when it became too big to be browsed.

On the other hand, all search grows until it requires curation. This means that as the amount of information available through search increases, users are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of results. This is where curation becomes necessary to help users navigate through the noise and find the most relevant and valuable information.

So, how can businesses navigate this delicate balance between curation and search? Here are three actionable pieces of advice:

  • 1. Embrace the Power of Curation: Curated selections have proven to be an effective way to present users with relevant options and streamline the decision-making process. By carefully curating products or content, businesses can create a more personalized and engaging experience for their customers.
  • 2. Invest in Search Capabilities: While curation is essential, businesses should not neglect the importance of search. As the amount of information continues to grow, users will increasingly rely on search functions to find what they are looking for. Investing in robust search capabilities will ensure that users can easily navigate through the curated selections and find exactly what they need.
  • 3. Iterate and Adapt: The digital landscape is constantly evolving, and what works today may not work tomorrow. It is important for businesses to constantly iterate and adapt their approach to curation and search. This means regularly reviewing and updating curated selections, as well as staying up to date with the latest advancements in search technology.

In conclusion, the rise of curated lists and selections in the digital age has transformed the way we search for information and make purchasing decisions. By carefully curating options and narrowing down choices, businesses can create a more streamlined and efficient user experience. However, it is important to strike a balance between curation and search, as both approaches have their limitations. By embracing the power of curation, investing in search capabilities, and constantly iterating and adapting, businesses can navigate this delicate balance and provide users with the best possible experience.

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