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My boss is insistent we need to build functionality to allow users to delete multiple items out of their shopping cart at once (e.g., checkboxes, with a "Select All" button/link, and "Delete" at the top and bottom of pages).

Currently we have the far more typical "Delete" option at the item/product level.

I've researched dozens of competitor carts and not one offers delete-multiple-items-at-once functionality. Edit: AmazonSupply does this, but at the expense of line-item delete.

I'd love to be able to push back on this and prove it's a bad user experience - but honestly the requestor is so adamant about it it's probably an unwinnable discussion.

Anyway does anyone have examples of good implementations of this functionality? It seems like it's going to add a lot of clutter and visual noise and overall is an atypical implementation. Our site has some "Save for Later" functionality multi-select might be beneficial for, but overall I'm concerned about implementing it as it doesn't seem widely done.

Anyway if anyone has good examples of multi-select delete/save in Shopping Carts -- or compelling articles why that functionality shouldn't be used for me to try to beat the requirement back with any help would be appreciated -- thanks!

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Let reason prevail

Let's say you have two alternatives:

Option A - Shopping cart (see Amazon.com) where there is a delete link for each item in the cart.

Option B - Shopping cart where each item has a checkbox, and you have Select all and Delete all buttons somewhere. You could also include a delete link in addition to the checkbox for every item, but for reasons that will be clear below that would be pretty stupid.


Now just look at the user's point of view. Let's take all the cases:

  1. User wants to delete a single item. Under option A, this is a 1-click operation. Under option B, the user has to check the box, then hit delete...i.e. a 2-click operation.

  2. User wants to delete multiple items. Under option A, the user clicks delete for each item = 1 click per item. Under option B, the user selects each item then hits delete = 1 click per item + 1 additional delete click.

  3. User wants to delete all items. Under option A, user clicks delete for every item. Under option B, user clicks Select all and then Delete = 2 clicks.

    • But what if you adjusted option A and added a single Delete all button on the cart? Then it's just 1 click for the user.

So with the small adjustment, Option A is inarguably better than Option B.


That is just using click analysis. There are additional reasons why B doesn't make sense:

  • Checkboxes are hard to use. For layout, the checkbox will be on the left of the item. The user will need to read the title from left-to-right, make a decision, then move back to the left, check the box, then go somewhere else on screen to delete it. See Fitt's law. This is a lot of cognitive load.
    • This is exactly why Amazon places the delete link just below the item. The eye scans the title, then just naturally moves down for the action.
  • The legible, 'delete' action is not collocated with the item. The user is just presented with an abstract checkbox, and then has to rescan the whole screen to find the Delete button and figure out how the checkbox in one place relates to the action she actually wants to take (delete).
  • Checkbox-and-delete forces the user "out of flow". You want shopping carts to present a clear, top-to-bottom workflow for the user to encourage a frictionless checkout. By forcing the user's eye to dart around the screen to manipulate and delete items, you are forcing them out of the flow and providing cognitive breaks for the user to reconsider the purchase. Don't do it.
  • Once you have a Select all button, you are going to need an Unselect all button. And also a delete button. So now you've got additional buttons onscreen to clutter layout and distract users from the desired, smooth checkout flow.
  • Appreciate the care taken in the response. Only counterargument I can see getting back is in our cart (and unlike amazon) item-level delete gets you a confirmation dialog (e.g., "are you sure?"). So it's really 2 clicks (or one click and one return key) to delete an item. – Scott H. Mar 23 '15 at 20:40
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    Ah. Nowadays best practice is to not second guess the user and provide undo rather than put up a pop-up barrier. Consider what large percentage of users who hit delete actually want to delete, and what small percentage would appreciate a confirmation. But if you guys are committed to keeping the pop-up then it'll incur that additional click. – tohster Mar 23 '15 at 20:55
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It sounds like overkill rather than something that is actually bad UX.

It depends if what you are selling involves users buying a lot of items at once (eg this may be applicable if you were selling small components -say screws and bits of metal).

I'd look at evidence from what your users actually do:

a - do you users typically put large numbers (say 10+) of items in the cart ?

b - do they have a reason for wanting to remove a large number after they've put them in there in the first place ?

If yes to a and b there may be a reason to do this. If no to either a or be then there's no reason to do this.

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As a customer who was searching for a way to delete multiple items at once on Amazon when I ran into this discussion, I believe that one very important point has been left out. The replies here are theoretically correct if not for latency.

So consider this: You are deleting 10 items and it takes you approximately 1/10 a second to move to and click any button or box and it takes your computer 1/2 a second to reload a page (which is the case for every click of the delete button on Amazon). In option A in total it takes you 1 second to click all 10 delete buttons and 5 seconds for reloading the page bringing us to 6 seconds to have our cart he way we want it. In option B it takes you a total of 1.1 seconds to click all of your boxes (including the delete box after the 10 boxes beside your item) and after waiting .5 seconds to reload I've only spent 1.6 seconds to have my cart the way I would like it. So what if I had one item? Well I'm losing the time it takes me to click one extra button, but if I'm deleting two items I've already made up my time.

Now granted I've made up these numbers of the top of my head, maybe you can click faster maybe you click slower, maybe you have faster or slower internet, but you can't just pretend as though load times do not it existed. After all, the reason I ran into this page was to find a way to ease my frustration, and I must agree with your boss.

My suggestion: have a drop down selector next to the quantity of the item being bought that you can adjust the quantity of the item up or down all the way to zero with an update cart button at the bottom. I know nothing about making a website, coding, etc. im just a frustrated customer clicking delete buttons and waiting for pages to reload. Hope that helps!

  • I also now realize that I'm replying to this years later. Sorry – Seth Lee Feb 19 '18 at 1:28

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