Transaction flow


The transaction flow helps buyers complete the purchase of fixed-price items, or—in the case of auction-format listings—it allows bidding on items in an effective way by displaying a live countdown timer and potential increases of the highest bid.

My role

Project lead, responsible for the interaction and visual design, for the creation of wires and visual specs, and for prototyping.

Problem statement

Most people wait until the very end of an auction to place their bid. However, the existing bidding page had functionality issues preventing a positive last-moment bidding experience. For example, the page didn’t display a live countdown showing the amount of time left before the auction closes, nor whether the current highest bid had increased during the last minutes of the auction. Unaware of other bidding activities or the exact time remaining, buyers weren’t confident of how much to bid to win the item, and left frustrated if they missed the end of the auction or were outbid. This was also a missed revenue opportunity for eBay since buyers were willing to pay more for an item but didn’t have the opportunity to do so.

While the transaction flow for fixed-priced listings didn’t have as much usability issues, its IA and visual were outdated, which created a confusing user experience.

Bid transaction flow

Process & Outcome

The main focus of this project was to create an engaging experience that fulfills the needs of bidders, as well as buyers of fixed-price items. Beside from adding the obvious required features, such as a live countdown timer and real time updates of ongoing bidding activities, I also took a deeper look at all the pieces of information displayed on each page of the flow and removed all clutter that distracted or confused users during the transaction. I also added the picture of the item on each page of the flow to keep the buyer connected with what they are buying.

Finally I revisited the visual to make it more coherent with the item description page that was released a few months earlier.

The new transaction flow was released early 2011. Buyers used to bid at the very end of an auction cheered the live countdown timer. Because of technical limitations we initially could display the timer only during the last hour of an auction. However we rapidly extended the feature for the last 24 hours after noticing that users were confused by not seeing the timer earlier.