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Choosing a Balaclava

By Erika Halloran

Here in New England, ski and snowboard season is upon us. Social media sites are swarming with photos of the first dustings of the season, radio stations are promoting the next great “Ski and Snowboard Expo” (spoken in my best radio announcer voice), and today’s morning commute featured plenty of traffic because one driver saw one flake and subsequently hit the brakes.

I fully admit that I’ve caught the fever. Last night, I spent time online clicking on goggles, wool socks, and balaclavas (the newest word in my personal vocabulary). There are more choices than ever before, and apparently, “the technology for these products changes every year.” I’m not completely convinced that this is true, but since most of my own gear is well over 10 years old, I’m willing to accept that it’s time for an upgrade.

So…searching “balaclava” on Amazon gave me 7,142 results! 
Scary? Not at all. Let’s narrow it down. 

Department? Skiing. 1,543 results.
Price? $25-50. 337 results. 
Amazon Prime Eligible? Yes, please. 46 results.
We’re in business! 46 is a number I can handle.

At this moment, when I was down to 46 balaclavas and I was trying to decide among micro-fleece, nylon, and merino wool, I found myself thinking… “This is just like Presto!” You heard me right. I was searching for new winter gear, and I was equating it to Presto.

Presto v4.2 (released in August 2013) brings users the ability to do exactly what I just did – refine their search results based on metadata. This might just be my favorite new Presto feature!

With Presto’s new guided navigation, a user can search for a general term that returns thousands of results, and then quickly and easily narrow it down by selecting a category. Presto will immediately refine those search results. You only want eBooks? No problem…narrow it down again by specifying a format. Voila! A results set of a manageable size. No complicated search syntax, no long search screen with “AND/OR” selectors, and no need to train your users. If they’ve shopped online for a balaclava (or anything else), they already know how to do this!

So, which balaclava did I select? You’ll have to hit the New England slopes this winter to find out.

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