UX Spotlight: Visualizing shopping progress – Leading customers through the browsing jungle


Pola Zen

November 17, 2017 | 3 min read

Last Updated: Mar 11, 2020

In the UX Spotlight series, I post weekly on UX features that impressed me online, and are great examples and inspiration for anyone looking to enhance their digital user experience.

Shopping fatigue. We’ve all had it, whether scrounging through bargain basement bins, hitting one more main street shop or clicking on page 17 of blue sweater search results, seemingly endless choices can be a tiring prospect even as it is a freeing one.

As increasingly savvy online shoppers’ tastes evolve, eCommerce merchants must expand their selections to meet every need. How can they also keep customers focused and help them not feel overwhelmed by the sea of options?

This week, I spotlight Ann Taylor for their simple but seamless, genius solution!

The UX element:

Once a category is selected on the Ann Taylor homepage and a customer is browsing products, a meter appears on the right side of the screen with a number of total items available for those search or category parameters and a circle shaded in with the portion of those items already viewed.

As a customer scrolls through the items, the circle fills more, easily giving customers a frame of reference for how many of the available products they’ve already seen.


The Impact:

Ann Taylor enables endless scroll while still giving customers a sense of their progress through the items. This knowledge also gives shoppers the feeling that they’re in control of their experience, rather than just blindly trying to get to the end.

Most commonly, online clothing retailers offer multiple pages of results (sometimes dozens or more), which users must load individually when they work through a page. This requires multiple reloads of the screen and can frustrate users, especially when they are on mobile, or when it is easy to forget what page they are on – and sadly, many retailers do not make a customer’s current page clear at all!

The Takeaway:

With endless scroll, new items load as soon as all the current items are viewed, and with a decent internet connection this can be seamless indeed. The dark side of the endless scroll is that typically, customers lose all sense of how far along they are in the search results. Sometimes, customers are even left wondering if their search could go on forever, or how many hours they’d have to keep going to see all the options. A progress indicator like this allows shoppers to enjoy the benefits of endless scroll while still safe in the knowledge that it will not, in fact, be endless. Customers are now in control of their own shopping experience, rather than feeling that they are being led along indefinitely.



This could be especially important for mobile users, who already make up 50% of US digital commerce revenues, and who are twice as likely to scroll down an entire page than desktop users. Give these scrollers a road map! Since January 2017, mobile traffic to eCommerce sites has increased by 11%, but sales from mobile have only seen a 3% boost. This means there is enormous opportunity here to tap into this traffic by perfecting the mobile customer journey with UX elements that empower mobile shoppers to be more productive.

For many shoppers, there is a desire to see all the possibilities before honing in on a few promising finalists. Such a progress bar can ease shoppers like this through the customer journey by letting them know how far along they are, helping them rest at ease knowing that they’ve done a thorough survey of their choices first.

Besides, everybody loves that feeling of competitive achievement when you finish a progress bar, right? Give your shoppers a pat on the back for seeing all there is to see!

It’s amazing how something so small can have such an important impact on your customer journey. Have you found other ways of setting up signposts for your shoppers?

I am always on the lookout for UX innovation. If you come across a digital experience that stands out, please send it over to pola.zen@contentsquare.com