I'm doing a redesign for an auctioning website where users have to fill in numerical values (their bid) in a text field manually. A commonly used option is to bid the next minimum bid.

Is it a known UI pattern or practice to just include a button to submit a commonly used value along with a text input if they want to use another value, instead of having them fill in this value manually?

Does anyone have any examples?

  • 5
    Just a thought, maybe consider preloading the minimum bid into the text input so if they want to bid the minimum they just have to click the bid button you already have. Then they can just change the value if they want to bid a different number.
    – DasBeasto
    Sep 19 '15 at 21:20
  • 1
    Yes, that's exactly what eBay does :) I wanted to provide a different option though, to not rattle existing users as well as maybe get this through easier on the business side (auctioneers make a % on winning bids, so they have a interest in getting the highest bids) Sep 19 '15 at 23:01
  • You'll be hard pressed to out do Ebay on bidding behavior. There's a lot of years of learning (and training) behind that behemoth UI. Nov 19 '15 at 0:10

Do you want a reliable answer?

To answer a "What do others do?" question, it is common to do a competitor review. I realize it's a time-saver to ask people on this site what they know, but you're asking about such a specific implementation—auction websites—that you're unlikely to get a range of responses. In other words, sometimes, you have to do the research yourself if you want quality data on which to base your design decisions.

Fortunately, a competitor review isn't difficult. It will take you some time to do the work, though.

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UX Magazine has a description with considerable detail, but here's a summary definition:

  • Functional audit of client and competitor sites – "Do we have what they have?"
  • Comparison of performance against standards, heuristics, and task completion to determine which competitor does it best and, more importantly, how the client stacks up.
  • Comparison of salient characteristics – Dimensions of the user experience, such as trust or personalization, that distinguish businesses in the competitive space.

In your case, you'd be asking a variation of the "Do we have what they have?" question: "Do others apply the design pattern that I have in mind?" Some additional benefits of doing your own research may include: realizing that you can have a small usability advantage of other sites do not use the pattern you have in mind, and producing an inventory of design patterns that other auction sites use, which you can then test with your users and/or use as ideas that you can iterate and implement.

Three cautions.

  • There are some drawbacks and limitations to a competitor review, so read the source article.
  • Context is everything. A solution that works on one site may not have the same effect on conversion rates on another site, especially if the users are in a different industry, have different motivations, are in a different culture, or even if the content is organised, laid out, and formatted differently. And, let's face it—on different sites the content is almost always resented differently.
  • A heuristic review may not have the credibility you want. But that's a whole other topic.

Hope this helps you move forward.

  • 2
    Thanks for the great resources, I'm going to look into them. I've been doing a review of sorts, although not one as defined as this. I was wondering whether anyone had used my example in practice (in this or a more general form: use button to fill in an often used value) and if anyone could point me to some concrete examples of implementation. Sep 20 '15 at 14:37

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