Having already made some changes to its feedback policy and search, the online auction site has recently introduced a new 'My eBay' summary page for users in beta.
I've been selling a few items on eBay lately, so I decided to check out the new format to see how it works...
My eBay gives the site's users a summary of all their activity. For sellers, current bids and other useful info are displayed; while buyers are shown the status of their bids and the items they have bookmarked.
Messages between eBay users are also displayed here, alongside account details and announcements for users.
The old version of My eBay contained all of the information mentioned above on a single page, which is fine when you have become accustomed to it, but the look was a little bit outdated:
The new version certainly has a more "Web 2.0" look and feel to it, with more white space on the page, which makes it easier on the eye:
The information displayed on the beta version of the page is essentially the same as the old version, but there are a couple of new features.
The first I noticed was this 'seller dashboard' which provides a useful summary of how you are perceived as a seller on the site:
The useful bit here is that it shows you an average of the detailed user feedback you have received on eBay, and will give you an idea of the things you need to fix to improve your reputation.
For instance, while I score well on 'item as described' and communication, my scores aren't quite as good for posting items out quickly so there's an area I can improve.
The only problem here is that this information was displayed well below the fold under the account tab where it could easily be missed.
You can also flesh out your profile now by adding reviews you have left for other items, as well as choosing to display and highlight more of your own items on sale.
The old My eBay could be customised, but this version offers a few more options, including the option of changing the colour of the section headers, moving sections up and down, or displaying them on the left of the page:
You can move any information up and down the page, to ensure that the most relevant information to you is displayed higher up.
It could be made more usable though. For instance, I'm selling a few items at the moment so I'd like my selling summary higher up the page. I can do this using the edit menu shown above, but I can only move modules up one place at a time.
This means that it takes me loads of clicks to get my selling info up above the fold, which is very annoying. Why not just allow me to click and drag to move sections around?
Sorting options are limited on the beta version, so you have less say over how you can look through the lists of items you are buying or selling.
For instance, you used to be able to sort the list of items you are selling according to the number of bids or by the number of people watching, to give you an idea of the most popular products, as well as by price and time left on the auction.
Now these options are limited and you can only sort the list by time and price, which is also the case for other lists. This makes these summaries less useful, especially for longer lists.
Also, as the page width on My eBay has been reduced compared with the old version, this means much more scrolling up and down the page. I'm not a huge buyer or seller on eBay so this is less annoying for me but, for a power seller with 100+ items on sale, this must become tiresome after a while.
The drop down menus next to items on selling or buying list used to automatically point you to the next action you need to take. For instance, if you had won the bidding it would advise you to 'pay for item' or 'leave feedback' if you have just sold something.
Now it just says 'take action', which means you have to open the drop down menu and choose the option you want from the list, which is one extra unnecessary click.
The beta version of My eBay displays a lot of useful information for buyers and sellers in a much more attractive way than the old one, but I'm not sure that it has added much in terms of improved usability.
It isn't drastically bad, but it doesn't improve enough on the previous summary page, while a few little things, such as the ordering of selling lists and the slow customisation make tasks more time consuming for users.
Judging by some of the feedback of eBay's forums, plenty of users aren't impressed by the new My eBay section. Hopefully, the site will listen to these opinions and make a few tweaks before it comes out if beta.