Site review: Shopping sites and UX (User eXperience)

Do the major sites still have anything to learn?


Amazon is one of the most known online shopping sites, a giant the started as a bookstore then expanded into a market place for books and almost anything and later for its vast cloud services. Amazon is well known for its 1-click ordering, enabling users to order a single item with first adding it to its cart and then checking out.

What could Amazon improve?
  • Don't limit functionality - Try searching for a product, e.g. "iPhone", you'll get a list of results, but not option to sort until you have limited your search to a single category (department). This may seem reasonable to the designers, however, in some cases it isn't clear which "department" the product would be under, especially since, unlike in physical depart stores, each item may be offered by a different seller, each with a different view of which department the product belongs to, and sometimes the same product may be under multiple departments simultaneously.
  • Basic sorting - Once you have chosen a department and you want to sort by price, there is no option to consider the shipping costs in the sorting.
  • Straightforward costs - Choose a product, if you don't live in the US, the shopping costs aren't relevant to you, even though you are logged in and have a registered shipping address. In fact, to find out how much it actually costs, including shipping, you have to add only that single item to your cart, then either click on estimate shipping costs, or, as before this shortcut was offered, click on purchase, then discover the actual costs only when you have to confirm your payment.
  • Location aware search - An option to filter out items that can't be shipped to your location.
  • More effective search - An option to filter out results based on specifications e.g. battery capacity.


eBay is one probably the most well known online market place.

What could eBay improve?
  • Location aware search - eBay has a lot of useful sorting and filtering options, but no option to filter out items that can't be shipped to your location.
  • Product reviews - Reviews, recommendations and feedback on items that are sold commercially (with a quantity of more than one available).
  • Advanced automatic bidding -  if there are multiple similar items that you want to bid for, an option to bid for an item only if you don't win another bid could be useful.


Deal eXtreme is known as cheap store for buying Chinese products, its variety isn't large, but its cheap prices and buyer feedback per product makes it a convenient site to use.

What could DX improve?
  • More effective search - An option to filter out results based on specifications e.g. battery capacity.


Alibaba Express is a store where you can order a large variety of products (sometimes only in small lots and not single pieces) from China for cheap prices. AliExpress is a spin-off of its mother site, Alibaba, where many products can only be purchased in larger lots.

What could AliExpress improve?
  • Security - If you have yet to sign up to AliExpress or Alibaba, you may notice, that despite the fact the login page is secure (https), the signup page is not, therefore, you will be sending your name, email and password unencrypted over the Internet, from anyone on the way to see (e.g. anyone connected to the same public Wifi).
  • Trust - If you try to contact AliExpress support, you get a page with a small variety of questions you can ask, if your question isn't on the list or the answers don't help you, you can use the automated response system. If it doesn't suggest useful questions and answers that may be related to yours or the answer isn't useful, you can't ask to be forwarded to a human being, in fact, the only way to contact actual people is via the "community" forums, which require you to register and log-in first.

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