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When designing for a shopping service, the user should be able to specify what they're willing to spend on an item.


  • There's no automated way to know what price range on the item, so the entry is essentially free form.
  • Users are bad at estimating prices: numerical input doesn't work
  • Using a slider to classify user priority (e.g. economy, value, performance) leaves too much to interpretation
  • Price ranges may not be granular enough for some users

How would you solve this UX issue?

share|improve this question
A bit confused here: you have an ecomnerce site where the price people pay is decided by them and not you? The only situation I can think of for this is an auction site, in which case you set a minimum starting price. However, your situation doesn't read like one where multiple people bid, just that the buyer picks the price. Is this correct? – JonW Jun 23 '12 at 1:54
@JonW maybe he meant it in a search context – fdmsaraiva Jun 23 '12 at 13:22
@fdmsaraiva: In search context, his assumptions are false. – dnbrv Jun 23 '12 at 18:42
up vote 2 down vote accepted

By shopping service, I am assuming that you mean a service where the user will enter a product, certain specifications and a price, and then your team will go out and source the product for them.

I think in your case, entering a maximum price they are willing to pay would be the best. Everyone would like to get the cheapest price for a given item (provided we are comparing the exact same item/service), so there isn't much sense in having a minimum price. However, you can improve this by searching Google Shopping and Amazon and perhaps even a few major online stores/retailers in the region you are targetting this service.

This should allow you to provide the user with a general idea of how much the item typically costs, allowing them to entering an appropriate range for the price.

A possible interface could look like this:


download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

Given this, you have hinted to the user how much the item typically costs, and allowed them to enter a reasonable value for your service to work with. You can also build an algorithm to reject unreasonable maximum prices. For example, if the user asks you to source him a Ferrari which typically sells for $500,000, but provides a maximum price of $1, your system can automatically reject that immediately.

If you are not comfortable providing a list of products from third parties like amazon, you can aggregate the prices and process them using an algorithm to result in something like this:


download bmml source

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Great answer, thanks! We arrived at a similar answer internally and should be putting it into effect in the coming months. – Raj Jul 12 '12 at 0:34

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