Ecommerce sites' mobile templates hide information that shoppers use to save money

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/11/22/display-vs-size.html

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I wonder if they considered possible differences between the circumstances of purchasing on mobile versus purchasing on bigger screens.

What happens when people are travelling and stuck somewhere without a place to stay and are desperate (for example when their flight is cancelled or their Airbnb falls through)? They search on their phones and will just take whatever’s available even if the cost is more than they wanted to pay. Contrast with when someone is planning a nice vacation a year in advance: they can open lots of tabs on a larger device and comparison shop in a leisurely fashion.

Like I said, I think the paper didn’t talk about that kind of urgency/cost factor, but it was hard to tell because the prose style of that paper kind of made my eyes bleed. Did the researchers consider other factors that go into purchasing-via-mobile versus purchasing-via-bigger-screens, or did they just compare screen size and template and assume all other factors were equal?

Of course, it could be both, if UX designers know that mobile users are more likely to be searching for hotel rooms in an urgent and constrained fashion, and choose to exploit that.

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I never make largish purchases on mobile if I can help it, I just don’t feel like I’ll have all the info I need. I thought it was just because I’m old.

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Agree that this doesn’t seem to factor in controls on circumstances. There may be a decent segment of the population whose internet exposure is limited to cellphones and are not savvy enough to know that more information exists.

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It’s not really exploit as much as it is offering up the experience that a user needs at that point in their experience or journey with a product.

In many e-commerce retail sites, the customer uses mobile for comparison price shopping, while physically standing in front of the product. They are in a heavily motivated purchase state of mind, while desktop is usually reserved for research and information gathering. I would say it is better to custom tailor those individual experiences to the users needs and wants, rather than shoehorning them into an ultimately useless experience based on equalizing everything.

That sound so nice.

But I get highly suspicious of people talking about a “journey with a product”, because ultimately all that is about is directing as much of a customer’s money towards their company. That kind of language is just there because it makes it easier for anyone not to face that fact.

It’s rather “experiences” the user was conditioned to think they want, but which conveniently do not cater to their actual needs, so that the same need can still be exploited again and again later.

Maybe related to this, I always wondered why wikipedia does not show the talk page in their mobile view. I find the talk page is tremendously helpful in figuring out the quality of the information presented in the article. The ommission makes wikipedia useless for looking up more obscure things on mobile.

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