nicolas leroy

Is grid view the new default view for CSEs?

November 06, 2009

The latest redesign of puts the grid view as the default view. The new doesn’t have any list view anymore. Google is asking its merchants to provide high quality images, suggesting a revamped grid view might be in the works for its Product Search… Does grid view become the new default view for shopping engines?

Grid view on

The main benefit of grid view is indeed to show bigger images and provide a more visual experience; it especially makes sense on soft goods (fashion, decoration…) where the visual aspect of products is key to the purchase decision. The drawback is that less information is displayed by default, and sites have to rely on advanced interaction to show extra details.

Obviously this has some effects on the click-through / conversion rates. As GetElastic explains in a recent post:

SLI Systems tested list view against grid view for one of their customers and found that clicks were more evenly distributed among result positions in grid view than list view:

You may use this information to “searchandise” and present your highest profit margin matches first for certain terms, knowing that the customer is most likely to click on the first 1-3 results. You should also pay attention to… Conversion rates. If folks only consider the first few results in list view – are these results relevant enough to encourage purchase? Or does grid view outperform?

What makes sense for a retailer site becomes a dilemna for CPC-based shopping engines:

For sure, better conversion rates is the clear motivation for those CSEs to switch to grid view by default. It then becomes a fine line to find between volume and quality of traffic… And an exciting challenges for interaction designers, as the devil is in the details:

Time will tell if we will see other CSEs jump on the bandwagon and apply grid view by default…