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Why We Don’t Sort Events Chronologically by Default


One of our partners recently asked us why Localist doesn’t sort events chronologically when listing all events (example), instead sorting by our “trending” algorithm.

It’s a great question that deserves an explanation, as it sounds almost unfathomable to present a listing of events any other way.

Much of what makes Localist different is that we’ve rethought the behavior of how people use a calendar. We don’t just show a static list of events so all dates can be absorbed by users; other calendar platforms already do that. We’re presenting the information in a way that prioritizes events that are more interesting. Knowing when an event is taking place is secondary.

Our research behind this decision was based on what we wished we had during our own college experience, and by listening to what students on campuses today are asking: “Where are people going?” “What cool events are happening today?” Previous thinking pegged the important question as, “when is this event?” when the actual question a student asks is “would I want to go to this?”

In practice, a student will make the time to attend an event that interests them. The typical thought process from designers is that users will look at a calendar and say “I am free on Friday at 2pm. What is happening?” While that sounds correct on paper, most people actually make plans by saying “Wow, that event on Friday sounds amazing! I’m Going.” Thus, we prioritize events by relative interest over time of day.

That said, we do offer our customers the option to turn on a sorting drop-down to  allow users to sort events chronologically, but by default, our algorithm takes the reins.

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