Autorader.co.uk is the most popular motoring website in the UK, claiming 10m unique visitors per month. It also has a mobile version, which it relaunched last year.
It offers an alternative to used car search tools on manufacturer's websites, which can be frustrating to use, and it's a potentially useful service for people to compare car prices on the move. I've been trying out the mobile site...
Homepage / search tools
The Autotrader mobile site looks good, with good use of colour to make the most important links stand out well. The homepage is much stripped down compared to the desktop version of the site.
As a result, it is far less cluttered, making it easier to get on with the job of searching for used cars. The search tool dominates the homepage, though are are some articles and car reviews if you scroll further down.
The search box initially provides just the basic options of make, model, postcode and price range:
The number of cars matching the search parameters is displayed underneath, and this alters after you update each search option, providing a useful indicator of whether or not users need to be more specific, or use the advanced search options.
The search fields are easy enough to fill for most, but since there are so many different makes of car, if you want a VW or a Volvo, you have a lot of scrolling to do:
Advanced search options
If you choose a relatively common make of car, such as the VW Golf, or have specific requirements, you're likely to need to use some advanced search options to narrow the search.
The options on offer cover most bases here, especially as there is a keyword search option, but if you start on the basic search and decide to switch to advance, it will not keep the data you have already entered, which can be annoying:
Car search results are displayed clearly, and users have the option of showing fewer results per page to limit the amount of scrolling required:
There are some useful sorting options as well which enable users to manipulate the order of search results, while the option to go back and add further filters is also provided.
Listings are well presented, though it doesn't get the mileage right on these pages, something which should be corrected, as it makes it harder to search and view cars according to mileage, an important factor in a car buyers' decision.
In the example below, this VW Golf actually has 76,000 miles on the clock, but the listing says 76, which doesn't really help:
Key features of the car are easily scannable, such as the fuel type, transmission and body style, though the text in the listings could do with some punctuation and sub-headings or bullet points to make it more readable on a small mobile screen.
Photos are good though, and are large enough to get a decent view of the car:
Further down the page, there are some useful options; to call the seller, make notes and save for later viewing, pinpoint the seller's location on the map, and more:
Autotrader has kept it simple to use, while retaining the advanced search and filtering functionality which is needed for useful and accurate product searches.
While there are some tweaks which could improve the usability of this mobile site, it is generally an excellent search tool which has transferred well to mobile from the main Autotrader website.