Best practise for adding items to comparison tool

8 Sep 2009 - 12:32pm
4 years ago
4 replies
570 reads
alison austin
2008

What's the general view: is it best to limit the number of items you
can add using compare functionality or better to allow an unlimited
number?

And, if allowing large numbers of items to be added, is pagination or
horizontal scolling preferable?

Comments

9 Sep 2009 - 2:58am
William Hudson
2009

Alison -

So far in the e-commerce benchmarking I've done, comparison features
have been few and far between. So I would suggest sticking with
something simple that is likely to get implemented. (You can always
improve on it later.)

>From a UX perspective, though, unlimited items (with adjustable column
order) sounds good. Horizontal scrolling would be much preferable to
paging in my view.

Regards,

William Hudson
Syntagm Ltd
Design for Usability
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> -----Original Message-----
> From: new-bounces at ixda.org [mailto:new-bounces at ixda.org] On Behalf Of
> alison austin
> Sent: 08 September 2009 11:33 AM
> To: discuss at ixda.org
> Subject: [IxDA Discuss] Best practise for adding items to comparison
> tool
...

9 Sep 2009 - 5:19pm
Alan James Salmoni
2008

>From my own research, there isn't going to be a single solution that
suits everyone. Among the people I tested, half preferred a top-down
strategy(start with everything then filter out what is not relevant)
and half preferred a bottom-up strategy (begin with a few options and
then add upwards).

This isn't very useful to you but if possible, try some research and
testing to find out how your users respond.

For pagination or scrolling, I guess it depends upon the task and the
number of items. Having several thousand items makes scrolling less
effective; having 11 items over 2 pages with a single item on the
second page is also annoying. It depends upon what you are trying to
achieve for your users.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=45451

9 Sep 2009 - 7:19pm
Jay Morgan
2006

Hi Allison,

RE: Overall Comparison Considerations
The comparison system has to work in the specific ecommerce
environment and it's constraints. So, you'll want to consider:
- how does site performance change as the number of items increases?
- how many facets are you displaying in the comparison? And, what are
the display options?
- will it result in a static matrix? Or, will it provide further
interaction, say, sorting by a facet?
- can the selection of items span several pages - I.e., you can select
items while paginating through 5 search result/gallery pages? You'll
want to 'carry over' some reminder of what's been selected so far.
- in the space provided for the matrix, there is an information design
challenge for displaying diverse values. For instance, Consumer
Reports has their grading system constant across all product types.
Or, Edmunds.com accommodates some values that are numeric, some
yes/no, some paragraph-length.
- Does the matrix include all product attributes? If not, say so and
let people view details.
- do they have to make detailed selections before comparing (Edmunds)?
Or, can they select all from a gallery page (Best Buy)?

My ecommerce experience has been that there is a performance threshold
to weigh against maximizing the number of items. That was typically
the independent variable in how many items could be compared. (I've
noticed that 4 is a common number to compare, but it's not as if those
sites tell us why they chose 4.)

Also, assuming people are on a path-to-purchase, what are the next
steps and how obvious are they? Edmunds let's you add and remove cars
to continue the comparison ad nauseam, but they're not selling.
- Can they print/export the results?
- can they go back to the original category/results?
- can they add-to-cart/purchase from there?
- Can they view more details on all/one item(s)?

Finally, while most comparison selectors are on gallery pages, some
product pages offer related items for comparison from there. This
preselects items, but it accommodates scenarios where people land on a
product page from a referrer or search engine deep link.

Hope this helps.
-Jay

On Tue, 8 Sep 2009 10:32:43, alison austin <amaustin25 at yahoo.co.uk> wrote:
> What's the general view: is it best to limit the number of items you
> can add using compare functionality or better to allow an unlimited
> number?
>
> And, if allowing large numbers of items to be added, is pagination or
> horizontal scolling preferable?
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
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> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
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>

--
Sent from my mobile device

------------------------------------------------------------
Jay A. Morgan
Director, UX at Gage

twitter.com/jayamorgan
linkedin.com/in/jayamorgan
------------------------------------------------------------

11 Sep 2009 - 7:33am
usabilitymedic
2008

Speaking as a shopper...my 2 cents...

I hate anything that limits my ability to see the full field of
options, particularly when I am evaluating items with which I don't
have much familiarity.

It's also highly inefficient to re-initiate comparisons as a means of
evaluating more items. (i.e Did I have the XJR70 model in the last
comparison and is that one of the ones I wanted to keep looking at?)

Thus, I am not happy when I am limited to a fixed number of items to
compare at the onset.

Enable me to compare as many items as I desire and give me the ability
to remove items as I find that they don't meet my needs.

As for the scrolling, what I find best is to have the items list be a
horizontal scroll. Yes, horiz scroll has been widely frowned up and in
its early use was one if my biggest pet peeves.

But traditional horiz scroll interfered with reading. This horiz
scroll actually facilitates evaluation. Since feature sets are usually
larger than the number of items being evaluated, keeping a few items
visible horizontally enables efficient review because you only need to
scroll vertically through the feature set to compare them.

Then you simply remove the items you deem as not meeting your needs
and move the next batch into view with the horiz scroll. No need to
re-initiate the comparison.

And so on. At the end you have a manageable list of items to decide
from, all of which have the criteria for which you are looking.

Sent from my iPhone

On Sep 8, 2009, at 10:32 AM, alison austin <amaustin25 at yahoo.co.uk>
wrote:

> What's the general view: is it best to limit the number of items you
> can add using compare functionality or better to allow an unlimited
> number?
>
> And, if allowing large numbers of items to be added, is pagination or
> horizontal scolling preferable?
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

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