Monday, March 23, 2009

Drag and drop carts - musings

I sent out a tweet recently saying I think drag and drop carts are a bad idea. This thought came from the idea that someone dragging a product from where it's listed into a box just to add it to the cart is just a waste of time and plain bad UI practice. Bad practice as it now requires the user not to just click once, but to
  • click,
  • find where the cart area is,
  • drag item to the cart box (assuming it's highly visible and has a nice chunky landing area),
  • release the mouse button.
I can see Jakob Nielson having a fit right now! If the interface is javascript (as opposed to flash), development could be a nightmare as well to match all the new browsers as they update their engines. While I still hold the belief drag and drop is counterproductive in this scenario, I've now come across sites (thanks @pipitpuch in response to my tweet) that use drag and drop not to add to a cart necessarily, but to further engage the user into designing an outfit. Some great examples - and

In such instances I think it's excellent, and if I was a clothes retailer I would be very tempted by these solutions. It would be even better if I could take a head shot of myself to load on top of the clothes dummy to get a better idea of the outfit I was designing - because I hate the thought of ordering clothes online only to try them on after delivery and not like the look.

But I can't help but think it'd be useless for any other type of retailer that's not in the clothing business? I can't imagine buying shrink wrapped box of software from citysoftware would benefit from a drag and drop site. Same for a remote controlled toy on a hobbies site. Good reviews, high quality product presentation, videos and comprehensive specifications get my attention when I'm buying such things.

My prediction - drag and drop carts have got nothing over "social" carts (the prediction - facebook is going to turn into a kind of social cart, I agree with scobleizer on that one) other than a little wow factor, unless it's engaging the customer into an activity such as "trying on clothes".

1 comment:

pipitpurch said...


We have solved the problem of adding to cart with multiple clicks by way of our recent viewed + canvas UI. Consumers do not have to go back to a product page to add items to cart once they are in our environment. Our approach to the user experience is quite innovative and there is little change in the user behavior. Looking forward to demonstrating our collaborative commerce application.