A platform for ITP students to sell and purchase second-hand products.
User interface design
Academic / Collaborate with Shiyu Chen
2018.12 - 2019.01 (On-going)
ITP students 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 staffs. Therefore, my partner 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 Tinkersphere is 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 to all the used items.
In terms of the trade of second-hand items, all of the interviewees had attended the ITP yard sale. However, according to all of those interviewees, 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.
From left to right:
Letgo (50M+ downloads, rating 4.5)
VarageSale (1M downloads, rating 4.6)
Craiglist(1M downloads, rating 4.6)
OfferUp(10M+ downloads, rating 4.8)
YardSale Treasure Map(500K downloads, rating 4.4)
5Miles (5M+ downloads, rating 4.6)
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. For example, all ITP classes are held on the same floor. 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. Then we created the 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.
The application has three main modules. The homepage is for browsing and searching for items. And the footer is the button for adding products. The user's profile and trade history remain at the sidebar.
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 confusing 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.
To keep the same style to other NYU applications, we adapted the clean white style and used NYU violet as the primary color.
Typical user journeys
1. For buyers
If there's no search result, users can add the item into wishlist and wait for notification
2. For sellers
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 the usability test. 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.
Our next step is to do a few more usability test and iteration of the high fidelity prototype. Then we are going to program it and make it real. We expected the programming to be finished on Feb. 2019. Hopefully, this application can be a helpful tool for ITP students. And we would probably extend the application to our whole school or a bigger art+tech community.