Ebay’s New and Improved (and Copied?) Interface

It appears that Ebay has taken a page from the social networking sites. Their recent site changes bring to mind the Facebook feeds, Pinterest boards, and Amazon recommendations, just in time for the holiday shopping season. Users now have a customizable feed where they can follow sellers, brands and designers, and other categories of items and interests. The layout is quite similar to Pinterest, with a seemingly random layout of different sized squares depicting newly added items and information. If you place your cursor over one of the squares, a menu appears over top of it, similar to that found in the Hulu interface, where you are given options and further details that you can navigate, to a point, without leaving the existing page. These options, though similar to other sites, are more relevant to the specific Ebay experience. Specifically, the “watch” option is listed here, instead of you having to go to the item page. There is also an option to remove the item from your feed, and a “love” option, which is definitely a more evocative take on the typical “like” option found on Facebook and other sites. There is also toolbar at the top of the feed that remains midway through the page with the traditional Ebay search categories and box above. However, if you scroll down to look at the rest of the feed, the toolbar stops at the top of the page and hovers there as you continue to scroll through the feed, reminiscent again of the Hulu Plus interface. Overall, it appears that Ebay borrowed successful strategies from existing dotcom successes, implementing a similar interface in terms of navigation, tools, and design. After just writing a paper touting the importance of studying existing models of success for practical application, Ebay’s site change further justifies my assertion. It will be interesting to see how these changes impact consumer experience as well as the Ebay brand. Definitely a potential topic for future study.

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