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I'm redesigning a website for a client which consists of showing their visitors how the product works. I was thinking about a step-by-step with intuitive icons illustrating each step so that it won't be boring.

I think it's not too "healthy" for visitors that the previous description doesn't show the product's price--they don't even say its a paid process on the site.

Is it a good practice to show the price only after someone registers? Is that Evil UX?

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    I'd consider this similar to bait-and-switch techniques, which are never good UX. – DA01 Aug 21 '14 at 6:52
  • Think of it this way: Would you go to a super market and buy items you have no idea what they cost, until you get to the cashier register? – Majo0od Aug 21 '14 at 12:47
  • getting users to register before they buy is a criminal offence – colmcq Oct 6 '14 at 14:41
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Legal and ethical considerations

What you're describing is a UX dark pattern. It might be, depending on when post-registration the price is being shown, in some jurisdictions a violation of legislation on product price labelling. You should make sure that a clear and final price is displayed before the user takes the first action towards buying the product.

For instance displaying a product's real price only at check-out time after the user has put it into their cart is unethical, and potentially not legal. At least in France you must label the price of each good and service being sold and the conditions of the sale (i.e., whether it implies monthly fees for a service, etc.). You also cannot force the sale of e.g. some insurance with a product or service as it would qualify as a linked sale.

This being said, a lot of websites abuse the law and rely on consumers lacking information and willingness to sue to get away with it..

What's OK to do?

In my opinion, it's rarely a good idea to constantly remind a user that they must pay money for something you're advertising (unless the price itself is a marketing argument). It acts as a negative incentive and may put off potential users. The price may be a marketing argument if your main advantage is being cheaper than your competitors if your strategy is to place your product on the higher end of the market and want to communicate quality, uniqueness or rarity (thanks @3nafish for pointing this out).

You could unambiguously label the price (or starting price if options) of your product on the front/lead page so you meet requirements in terms of consumer information. Then, when you walk them through the different features, do not leave the price displayed on each page. Make sure to clearly label features that come with an extra fee as "Optional" or "Premium" or "Add-on", etc. with their individual price being displayed. You must then still display the real price that the user will pay before they start ordering, so at the last page when they can choose to "add to cart" or "buy".

  • Thanks for the answer Sidnioulz. The price is shown after user's creating his account, at this moment he receives an email with the service's terms and form. Those documents have the product price per session, it's a service. I'm sorry to use the wrong word. – Carbon Aug 21 '14 at 10:48
  • So it's a service available for people who have an account? How do you turn on and off the paid service (in other words how do you start using it, how do you say "I'm done with my session for today, stop charging me")? Is it a price per session or per hour? How is the end of a session triggered and explained? How are users billed? Does simply registering start the paid service? In a few words, how can users be fooled into using the paid service unwillingly? – Steve DL Aug 21 '14 at 11:18
  • From the other comment you made, I'd say you should clearly label the price of the 12-session service right from the start, before a user registers since registering makes sense only for using the service. It's also probably bad to your business that a user needs to make so much effort to make a purchase decision. I'd leave before buying anything if the price was hidden. – Steve DL Aug 21 '14 at 11:25
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    Great, probably not as bad as it sounded then! What is the reason why I must register before reading the terms and conditions though? There's also a law that this would potentially violate in my home country :) If it's just to fight spambots, what else could you do about it? Can I do something else than order coaching with an account (e.g. web forums)? Or asked another way, what is the reason you hide the price until a user registers? – Steve DL Aug 21 '14 at 11:53
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    -1 for We all understand that constantly being reminded of the cost of a product or service is poor UX. Where's the evidence that we all understand that? I read about a psych study (can't find it right now; it may have been in the book Priceless by William Poundstone) that said we value things more when they're harder to get, so reminding people of the cost of the product or service would likely increase the perceived value and promote brand loyalty. (People stick with brands because they need to justify their past expenses according to another study, also in that book.) – Graham Herrli Aug 21 '14 at 14:12
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what kind of product is that? If you look at what some service provider do on their sites (Mailchimp, hosting companies, dropbox..the list is very long!) you can see how they treat the price as a separate area on their site. The consideration I would do is: (1) keep a 'Pricing' area on your site where you explain how much does it cost (2) build a bridge between product description page and pricing page with a link that is meaningful and actionable "Do you like what you have seen here? Find out more about the price". I hope it helps.

  • Taritaro, it's an online coaching service paid not per session but for the entire 12 sessions. The pricing area idea is good, thank you very much! – Carbon Aug 21 '14 at 10:52

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