Looking Through Car Websites

The cliché is that a website is a shop window, but we can do more these days. What makes a car website a “good” website? It must have all the usual UXUI functionality we’ve come to expect, and a little bit more. It needs the kind of things you can only do on a car website—like a virtual test drive. Ideally, it should have everything you need in order to make a decision about which car you will end up with.

How does a virtual drive compare to an actual drive?

A bit of science: It seems people behave in a more reckless fashion in the virtual drive according to several studies, including Bella’s study in 2008 which would suggest that most people are more likely to let go in a virtual car than a real one.

In both real and virtual test drives the heart rate goes up as can be seen in Reimer and Melher’s study and both require the same amount of work and precision. You may possibly have thought that a virtual image could be more or less attractive than real life, but no, it needs to be as realistic.

There’s bad news too if you find driving stressful; you will find simulated driving stressful as well. (This was according to Walshe, Lewis, O’Sullivan and Kim’s study in 2017). According to the measured heart rate there was a slight feeling that you are in a vehicle and it’s under your control, even if it is patently obvious that this is not the case.

Apart from having a test drive how should the site be arranged?

Although first impressions count, and people examine the shine of the website before examining the goods it’s important not to be taken in by money spent on the website. Okay, it may be important that the website is optimized to your mobile device for instance, but what is more vital is how these vehicles look and what they are like to drive.


So how to negotiate the car site? Various places online chose to publish the price of their vehicles from the highest to the lowest. They don’t do this because you would find the car on the front page and stop looking. They know you’ll keep searching until you find what you’re looking for…but there’s no reason not to make you walk past what you can’t afford on the way there. But there should be short cuts to cars most commonly bought.

Try seeing which cars are nearest to your zip code, there is little point in considering a car if it would need to be delivered and that incurs extra expense. If it’s used car inventory they should be willing to state the milage. It’s an important element to consider so it should be possible to filter for a range of mileage.

Selecting by brand is helpful if you know exactly which brand you require, but many don’t. Selecting by vehicle type would be better as you can compare brands but it will only show relevant cars.

Selecting by year of production is only that useful if you are sorting through vintage cars or classic cars. Selecting by mileage is a better way to judge the age of a car than the actual age.

It’s a good idea to look for the latest listings – most people ask themselves why are these cars still unsold – but it’s also worth seeing everything a site has to offer.

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