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For many checkout pages, a progress tracker is touted as a good idea to help guide a user through the purchasing/checkout process (as outlined in this article: http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/01/15/progress-trackers-in-web-design-examples-and-best-design-practices/).

However, most of the examples I have seen, consist of 3 or more steps. If my only required steps are login/register (which is skipped if the user is already logged in), and the payment information page (choose payment type: either redirect to Paypal or fill in credit card information), would I benefit from a progress tracker?

For one, it would help give the user an idea of how little remains after login/registration. I'm just not sure whether it's necessary if there are only 2 steps (or only 1 step if the user is already logged in).

  • so your payment info page is also the place where user could submit/place the order? This page would, i assume, include shipping form, billing form, shipping method, coupon, etc all on one page? – Chairman Meow Aug 7 '14 at 23:49
  • The checkout is not for a physical item, but a premium account for my site. There is only 1 possible option/price for the premium account. Only the payment method (Paypal or Credit Card), and card information (if the user chooses Credit Card), are needed. – mrl Aug 7 '14 at 23:58
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    Oh, good to know, you're selling an intangible product. – Chairman Meow Aug 8 '14 at 0:02
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It depends, you already mentioned that progress trackers help inform your users not only of where they are but also how much more they have to go. It's about being clear, not surprising the user. In your case you say two steps but I'm betting it's more.. you mentioned the login/register page, I assume some kind of overview of what you are purchasing before you actually commit to the purchase*, the payment process at the payment service provider and then I assume a 'thanks for giving me your money page'.

So yes, even for your two steps I would recommend a progress tracker. They don't take up much space and make the process more clear.

* Directly forwarding them to PayPal after login/register will possibly scare people away because it is no longer clear what is happening. An overview page before committing is very helpful here (also a good place for T&C)

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