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Background

The current client I am working with is in the vacation property space. Our naming terminology is similar to general e-commerce .

We have currently taken a different approach on our homepage and landing pages when users click on the product/property cards.

Instead of the typical behaviour of linking to the product/property details page, we actually send them to a search results page with their chosen property being pinned to the top ahead of other relevant properties. Its only when you click on that card, you finally get to the details page.

This decision has come from knowing that the user goes through an average of 12 product/properties before conversion. So directing them here, although not a natural route, should give the user easier access to achieve that 12+ PDP quota.

Question

Personally I am looking for greater validation for creating a less natural user journey but as the design decision is data driven, can this be considered an exception to the rule? Or do we stay more true to the natural expectation from the user? What wins in this instance?

Attached is a summary of the two flows, hope it makes sense enter image description here

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I've seen this before, and personally I hate it. In my personal experience, I tend not to complete the trip or just leave the page. But maybe it's just me.

However, no matter the reasons, you are cheating the user to do something she did not ask. Basically, you are denying one of the 8 golden rules of interface design

7 Supports the internal control locus.

Experienced operators want to feel they are in charge of the system and that the system responds to its actions. Design the system to make users the initiators of actions instead of the responders.

(I would say that you will also break points 1, 4 and 6 to some extent)

Also, keep in mind that your hypothesis has a flaw: your users see 12 products because the flow you currently have is designed for that. Otherwise, it will change.

In short, I think you should offer those 12 (or 15 or 20 or whatever) results if your user is looking for something. Otherwise, if the user clicks on the product, he is expressing his will or INTENTIONALITY to see THAT product and not what you think she might want. And then, and only AFTER she did that, can you offer her to see other options using different strategies (for example: location-related, similar characteristics, compare products, etc.)

But of course, it's always a good idea to test things like this. Who knows, maybe you find a better way. But if you want to follow this path, I'd advice to do some extensive testing with several usability research rounds over a prototype (and forget about "5 is enough" because it's not, try as many users as you can) and then maybe a private beta. Or if you feel adventurous, try a multivariate test on your live site with both versions, but it's quite risky and personally I wouldn't do it.

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