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Due to lack of screen estate on a mobile device should some details be kept hidden from the users while displaying product thumbnail?

Usually Shopping websites display the following:

  • Picture of the Product
  • Price
  • Name
  • Size (for apparels)
  • Color (for apparels)
  • Brand

Will it be a good practice to display just Picture of the Product, its name and its price in a shopping app? Do users crave for more? Is adding a button that expands on the details in the catalog screen itself a good idea?

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I believe the absolute majority of e-commerce apps provides the user with a product detail view, which I also think is the way to go. I think the old "buy a pig in a poke" idiom falls neatly into this scenario. –  AndroidHustle May 31 '13 at 8:12
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2 Answers

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In general: Which details are important depends on the product you are selling. You should always try to show up all the important information the user needs to make his decision.

If you are selling screws for example, some technical informations (measurements, materials etc.) are may even more important then the product image. But if your products are subjectively or visually chosen (apparel, furniture...) your images should take up more space.

In mobile you always run into the problem of having less space for additional details. Therefore try to outsource some options. For example provide filters for colors and sizes at the top of the page instead of putting these informations at every item.

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The trend I’m seeing in e-commerce is to scale back the amount of product information displayed for product listings (search results, product category pages, brand pages). Obviously the reduced real estate of mobile devices demands information economy as well.

In my years working within e-commerce, I’ve observed a consistent tendency to add MORE product content in a manner of feature creep throughout e-commerce sites. Amazon is the king of this philosophy. Many things drive this, specious conclusions from bad user testing, under-scoped projects hoping to bump numbers, and business’ desire to partake of the sexiest success metric: add to cart conversion.

While it’s always conceivable that an anecdotal user would desire more information for a specific product type, a good UX designer or information architect must remain focused on what the job of the page is (if you’re thinking in terms of pages).

Is it the job of a product listing page to sell products - getting users to add them to cart? Or is it the job of a product listing page to help users find products in a browse/comparison context? I would argue it’s the latter. Thus the objective of each product listing is merely to convey product status answering the questions, “What product is this?” and “Is it for sale?” To do that, product listings require (in order of importance):

Product Image (primary way to ID a product)

Product Name (secondary way to ID a product because most product names are nonsense to users)

Product Price (primary way to confirm a product is for sale)

Availability (secondary way to confirm a product is for sale)

Further consider this advice. Implicit in your question is the assumption that a product listing page can never change either by context or interaction. I call this thinking, “solving interaction problems with layout.” You’re assuming a product listing page layout that on page load would contain all of the necessary information - a more is more approach. But what about an inline, progressive reveal of information? Let the user tell the system what content interests them with an interaction. What if the user’s interaction with a ‘filter by brand’ control, caused brand information to be added to all product listings? Devise interactions that allow the user to tell you what information they want, then give it to them with a state change.

Here’s a final thought about selling products with content (I mention this because everyone tends to obsess about content). A product detail page (standard on all e-commerce sites) sells products with content, the more the better. For example: a page of content detailing everything a user may wish to know about a laptop. At Sears, I worked on their new bundles page - a premise-based product grouping presented as a configuration experience. It sells products by context, but little information. For example: pick the laptop (of 3) that’s right for you. The per page, per year average sales for the Sears product detail page is about $20. In it’s first year, the per page, per year sales average for the Sears bundle page is almost $15,000. Context far out performs content in UX.

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