A platform for ITP students to sell and purchase second-hand products.
Collaborate with Shiyu Chen
At ITP, we typically spend several hundred dollars each semester for their projects. And a number of products they buy remain unused or barely-used. Money and resources are being wasted due to the lack of a platform where students can trade second-hand items. Therefore, my collaborator and I designed a mobile App for selling and purchasing second-handed items within the ITP community.
To understand the current situation of second-handed items and their trade, we conducted brief interviews with 10 ITP students.
We started with three questions:
1. In the fall semester, what categories of things did you buy for the assignments and projects?
How much did you spend on them?
2. What percentage of items were unused or barely used after a semester?
How did you deal with them?
3. Have you sold or purchased any second-hand items in ITP?
And here's what we founded:
The number of money spent and the percentage of the unused items was remarkable. Meanwhile, people find places like hardware stores are overprice and are always looking for somewhere cheaper or buy from someone. To solve this problem, some people send emails to the ITP community to ask for items, some people self-organized ITP yard sale where students typically sell and purchase products such as electronic components, fabrication materials.
Yet sending emails and holding yard sale seems not helpful enough to make use of all the used items. And according to all of those interviewees who had attended the ITP yard sale, it was dissatisfactory. To understand the challenge of the ITP yard sale, we interviewed people who have participated in the yard sale and figured out the pains for both buyers and sellers.
We analyzed six popular yard sale/ second-hand trade mobile applications to understand what problems they were trying to solve and how did they solve the problems.
In general, all apps are trying to solve these problems:
Credibility. Build more trust between buyers and sellers.
Locate items. All apps ask users to allow location access so they would be able to find the buyers nearby.
Categorize items (filter). Users would be able to find what they want quickly.
Simplified posts. Most of the listings are laconic and well organized.
Clear status of selling or buying. Users will be kept updated about the status of items.
Some challenges they all have:
Encourage users to meet offline and transaction in person. The platform won’t manage what happens offline.
OfferUp has shipping features, but not very clear about the rules and the way to protect both buyers and sellers.
Our target users are ITP students.
In the beginning, we thought about making the platform available for the whole community in the Tisch School of Arts. However, we realized that ITP students share some unique features. Most students study and finish their projects on the floor and events such as seminars and pizza nights happen very often. More importantly, ITP students have some similar characteristics. So we focused on creating a helpful yard sale platform only for ITP students.
Based on the interviews, we explored the needs of both buyers and sellers and created their personas.
Challenges and solutions
Based on the challenges of traditional offline yard sale and second-hand trading apps, we came up with our design solutions.
PROTOTYPE AND ITERATION
We did two rounds usability test with 8 users in total.
The complaints focused on the feature of recommendations based on courses, what details are necessary for an item, the contents of buttons, and confusion about the chat page.
After iteration based on the result of the first usability test, we did the second-round test. The problems focused on distinguishing sellers' and buyers' interface.
1. Buyers' journey
If the desired item is not currently on sale, the user could add it to the wishlist. A notification would be sent when there's something available.
2. Sellers' journey
This application was one of my attempts in design for the real-world problem in my life. I felt extremely passionate and excited to learn from user research and usability test. Specifically, my favorite process was doing usability tests. I believed that the designer cannot stop learning from the users. We have encountered a number of thoughtful, talented, and kind users. It was a challenge to design a satisfactory experience but after 5 iterations, we founded ourselves understanding them much better.