Cart icon & mental model

How the heck should we call the thing in the top right corner where I review my item before I complete my purchase.

But first, what text e-commerce use for their purchase CTA

“Buy now” vs “Add to Cart / Bag / Basket”

Takeaway: Use Add to Cart / Bag / Basket

“Add to Cart” vs “Add to Bag” vs “Add to Basket”

  • Cart & Bag are icons we saw repeatedly in our research
  • Basket icon is not so commonly used compared with bag & cart (we didn’t took into consideration FMCG though).
  • Fashion sites use bag
  • Multi product sites use cart

Fashion sites use bag

Multi-product sites use cart

Users mental models

Mental models even simpler are deeply held beliefs about how the world works.

The physical market

  • Walking into a store.
  • Adding the products to a cart.
  • One last chance to think if we got everything.
  • Go to the registry and pay.

Experimenting outside the norms

  • 1–3 — Display a Bag
  • 4–6 — Display a Basket
  • 6+ .. — Display a Cart
  • Interactive icons give life to a static element
  • Inconsistency between text (that remain static) and icons
  • Bag, as the smaller icon, will be the default icon
  • Display Bag for fashion categories (etc clothes, shoes etc)
  • Display cart for the rest
  • Common experience with other apparel sites
  • Messy mental model, users has to understand our separation
  • Cross-category purchases can become confusing

Being different may be costing you

“Choosing a different [link] color is by no means a problem, but it may affect the speed with which users find [your content],” wrote Fedeyev.

“Choosing a different icon is by no means a problem, but it may affect the speed with which users find your cart”.

Putting all the pieces together

  • When in doubt, use cart as the safety brand icon
  • There is a trade-off between convention and innovation
  • Users are so familiar with cart as a concept that visually ignore icons




Product Design Manager @Skroutz

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Product Design Manager @Skroutz

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