Ok, so I am tasked with designing the UX for an auction application. First things first, layout of a page representing a single auction.

The question is the optimal arrangement of the layout components. I would love to use eBay or Amazon for inspiration, but have always found their layout to be fairly poor.

eBay used to have the bid button arbitrarily half way down the right side of the page. Now its in the middle of the top of the page surrounded by disjointed information.

enter image description here

There MUST be some logic to eBay's layout, but it just looks like a jumbled mess to me. Is there any logic here? Why is there promo material scattered around? There is promo material under the product image, in the middle under the bid section and on the bottom. Why is the bid button placed the way it is? It seems that each type of data has its own ui, and is place together, but its very odd.

enter image description here

Amazon is not an auction here. But the layout is at-least immediately coherent. The Buy/Bid button is on the upper right, in a distinct ui bar. Product information is in the middle, with buying action-ables in the sidebar. Special offers are all under the product information. But again why this layout? Why are main action buttons on the right? Why is the product picture on the left in both instances?

enter image description here

Third example is eBid, which is not as major a site. But still successful and shows real similarities with both eBay and Amazon.


What is the logic behind auction layout online today? And does anyone have any research or rational justifications for the placement of the data and controls? (preferably research).

What is the best practice for auction layout?

  • Dear downvoter... why is this not a legitimate question? Commented Dec 30, 2012 at 0:04
  • I didn't downvote, but was inclined to comment nonetheless: "Last is there a superior creative layout that is perfect but just absent from the landscape?" - maybe your question is a bit too wide and a bit too vague. Seems like you are looking for answers that analyze and compare the whole UI of three sites, more or less.
    – kontur
    Commented Dec 30, 2012 at 0:31
  • I was trying to present my quandary in full. What I am looking for is "is there a best practice, and if so what"? Commented Dec 30, 2012 at 2:31
  • You are right, that sentence made it to broad. I am just hoping someone has a white paper on this or a real logical reason why auction pages are arranged the way they are. Commented Dec 30, 2012 at 2:32

1 Answer 1


Picture First

The picture is at the left on both sites because people usually read from left to right. And producers want the consumers to see the most attention-grabbing element first, and picture is better than words in attention-grabbing.

Button Placement

Amazon Buy Button is at the right, signalling that when you click this, you are done on this page, you are going forward.

But Ebay on the other hand, bidding something doesn't mean you are done, you just placed a bid, you still need to keep watching, and maybe modify your bid later. And often time, you would want to review any info on the product page before you modify your bid accordingly.

Promotion Placement

They are scattered, because they are different kind of promotions targeting different audience. The one under the image is for sellers, while the one under the bid box is for buyers.


You are right, there got to be some kind of logic, and you are not detecting it because you are not actually the user, you are not bidding something yourself (assumingly), you are just studying the design of the website. But for a bidder, this layout is logical.

  • Thank you. I also do actively use ebay and have always been confused by the ebay layout. Even before I started doing design. Commented Dec 30, 2012 at 2:34
  • Your point about amazon button placement being different is extremely valuable insight. Thank you. Commented Dec 30, 2012 at 2:34

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