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I'm designing an iPhone app that allows a user to book into a class. The user has the option to pay immediately for the class, or pay in cash upon arrival at the physical location.

What is the most seamless way to let the user have this choice? Ideally, they would pay immediately, but given the constraints (and not wanting to ask the user every time they click book) how could this be best achieved.

Further Info: The book button currently occupies 60% of the tab bar, and the price field the other 40%. The user will also have the option to add or change payment method, or purchase a subscription when they click the price field. When the user first tries to book a class, they will be prompted to add a payment method or purchase a subscription

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The right way to answer this question is to perform an A-B usability test on the app's users to see which design option gets more successful registrations.

In the absence of such testing, you answered your own question without realizing it.

Ideally, you want the user to pay immediately. So DON'T give them a choice -- at least, not right away. When the user taps the "Book A Seat" button, the app should always jump to the "Pay Now" screen.

The key on this screen is to tell the user the key benefits of paying now: Guaranteed seating, locked-in price, etc. Convince the user this is a great time to pay now.

Below the payment form and the "Pay Now" button, that's where you'd put the "Pay Later" button, displaying it in the UI hierarchy as a "less desirable" secondary choice.

To summarize, test your options, but if you can't, prioritize the desired payment option.

  • Thanks for that reply! I have answered another comment below, but what we did was allow the user to set a preference, or be prompted every time they make a booking (testing will hopefully show that people are subconsciously annoyed by the prompt, and add the new quick book option). When the user presses the book button, the prompt is to enable quick book, as well as presenting them with the benefits of this feature. – Stewy Oct 21 '14 at 21:04
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I'm not sure that the concepts as described are same as the users mental model. The conceptual structure described below may be more fitting of users mindset, and thus more likely to get engagement & completions.

  1. "Book a Class"

  2. "Pay for a Class"

    1. ... when visiting
    2. ... pay now for fast check-in [Credit Card | Paypal]
  3. "Remember payment details for fast booking. (We'll always confirm a payment with you)"

If steps 2 & 3 are visible after a click on "Book Class" this will help comprehension.

The above does depend on your specific users and other factors in your UI, but the above is quite consistent with other on-line payment experiences.

  • Thanks for your response Jay. I think, as the concept it is quite a difficult in function (many options and validations on the single book button). What we decided to do eventually, was to allow the user select a preference in their (newly constructed) user profile, as to whether they would like to always pay now when card is valid (quick book). Otherwise, we always prompt the user to pay now or pay later and show them the benefits of quick booking. – Stewy Oct 21 '14 at 21:01
  • Good to know. Will be interesting to observe live behaviour. While my expectation would be "no one" will initially opt for auto-pay (security & confidence concerns) and that (depending on user journey) most will not change preferences. But I am often pleasantly surprised :) – Jason A. Oct 21 '14 at 22:35
  • I'll let you know! It hasn't been finalized just yet, I'm sure we'll find out more as we test. I'll recomment afterwards! – Stewy Oct 21 '14 at 22:42

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