UX Patterns


UX Patterns: The Key To Profitable Online Marketplaces

The secret to successful online marketplaces? UX patterns! Discover how they can simplify the user journey & boost conversions.


The best Online Marketplaces allow multiple service providers, retailers, and manufacturers to reach larger audiences and increase their sales. They not only create exposure to qualified buyers but they also provide a digital infrastructure that enables secure transactions. All of this while offering an intuitive in easy-to-use experience based on recognizable UX Patterns.

In this article, I’m going to talk about the importance of UX Patterns in profitable, Online Marketplaces and why using them means good business.

What are UX Patterns?

UX Patterns are standardized solutions to common UX problems.

Some UX problems common to Online Marketplaces can be, for example, filling out a checkout form, adding products to a “shopping cart” or filtering results based on multiple criteria. UX Patterns are ways in which a user interface responds to the user’s input in each of these situations.

How Do UX Patterns Work?

We used this gift for recognizing patterns in nature to read the calendar in the sky. – Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.

Humans are great at recognizing patterns. It’s part of our DNA.

We’re so good at it we sometimes see shapes where there are none. Scientists even have a word for it. Pareidolia is the tendency to recognize patterns in random data. It’s what happens when you see shapes in the clouds, or faces on cars.

Photo by NOAA on Unsplash

Not only we’re good at recognizing patterns, but our brains are also great at developing and incorporating new behavioral patterns as a way for us to respond to and interact with our surroundings.

If an action leads to a positive outcome in our lives, and it’s easy to do, we repeat it over and over. The more we repeat an action, the easier it gets every time until it becomes automatic. We like things that feel easy to do.

A general “law of least effort” applies to cognitive as well as physical exertion. […] if there are several ways of achieving the same goal, people will eventually gravitate to the least demanding course of action. ― Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow

The less cognitive load an interface produces, the easier it will feel to operate. UX Patterns work by cueing the brain into triggering an automatic routine. Executing the routine requires almost no mental effort from the user.

You can do these complex behaviors without being mentally aware of it at all. And that’s because of the capacity of our basal ganglia: to take a behavior and turn it into an automatic routine – Charles Duhigg

Now that we understand what UX Patterns are and how they work, let’s take a look at why they are so important for building profitable Online Marketplaces.

The Importance of UX Patterns in Online Marketplaces

Leveraging the right UX Patterns in the design of your marketplace can have an enormous impact on conversion rates and profitability. That means they can, not only make people complete more purchases, but also make them spend more on each visit.

Users spend most of their time on other sites. This means that users prefer your site to work the same way as all the other sites they already know. Design for patterns for which users are accustomed. – Jakob Nielsen

Making purchase decisions takes a lot of mental energy. The average person can't hold more than 5 to 7 pieces of information in their conscious, working memory. Yet common UX Patterns are so internalized by everyone that we respond to them automatically without having to think about it.

The brain can almost completely shut down. ... And this is a real advantage because it means you have all of this mental activity you can devote to something else. – Charles Duhigg

Some Online Marketplaces UX Patterns have been around for so long, that users recognize them instantaneously. Take the shopping cart for example. It's so ubiquitous you don't have to explain it to (almost) anyone.

If your users can get around your Online Marketplace with minimal mental effort, they will dedicate all their attention to making their purchase decisions which will make it easier for them to make a choice and go through the checkout process.

More purchase decisions mean more sales for you and your suppliers and more capacity to mentally process information about potential upsells without feeling overwhelmed.

What About Creativity?

When I talk about UX Patterns there's always this question of, what happens to creativity if all we're doing is repeating the same patterns ad infinitum?.

While is true that implementing the same patterns over and over can lead to a "templated" product, it's important to discern when to use patterns versus when to come up with creative solutions. As always, the key lies in knowing your user.

A deep understanding of your customers can help you create your own UX Patterns based on the sites they visit, their hobbies and interests and their tech savviness.

If you know that your users play golf, you could come up with a way to implement aspects of the sport into your navigation patterns. This would create a powerful connection with will boost their trust in your brand. Just don't overdo it and make sure you test all your novel ideas to make sure you don't hurt your site's conversion.

Parting Thoughts

Apply UX Patterns to improve the usability of your Marketplaces. Don't reinvent the wheel if it's not necessary. You might be able to come up with innovative design solutions and create your own patterns but it's strongly advisable to follow a proper design process to prototype and test your ideas.

If you're struggling to improve the conversion rate of your Online Marketplace, our team of UX design experts can help. If you're interested, book a call with us here.

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