Project 2-Etsy


-Client: Etsy

-Timeframe: 2 weeks

-Team work: 4 members(Zach, James, Yiwen, and Sanger)

-Role: Researcher, designer, prototype, and tester

-Target user: Etsy seller and buyer

-Problem: Etsy wants to make it easier to sell custom items on their mobile app, by easily identifying sellers who take requests for customizations and also allow those same sellers to easily take requests

-Problem statement: Sellers need an easier process for listing customizable items and buyers need to feel reassured when they request customized items that their choices will be as expected.

How can we help to make it easier to obtain and specify details about the customized items so the buyer receives their product on time from the seller and the buyer is satisfied with their specified request.

User research

-Screener: We created a survey using Google form, and sent it through social media, such as Slack, Wechat, Craigslist. We received 43 replies in total.

-Interviewees: 3 seller (3 females), 3 buyers (2 females and 1 male), age from 20 to 60

-Method: 1 through Face time and 5 through phone

-Summarize: Our goal was finding users’ pain point when they use Etsy to sell or buy. I did a 30 minutes interview with a seller, and I was also a note taker when Zach did his seller interview. Through the interview, I noticed that sellers usually spend a long time to post their products. The process of posting wasn’t very pleasant, because so many details were needed and for them to post multiple items, they need to repeat the whole process over and over again.

-Quotes: “From taking pictures, editing pictures, and then to writing descriptions, probably around a half hour per item.”

“…and the process is fairly hard to learn for someone like me who isn’t very tech savvy”

“Sign…I will do it little by little. There is no way to skip this if you want to sell”



-Affinity map

We organized our affinity map into 6 categories: listing process, searching, communication, reviews, time management, and inventory.


We used MoSCow map guiding us to pick where to focus on. Since some of us put specific features, some of us put border categories, it made the most sense to group similar Post-Its together. We did two round MoSCoW map. The first one we put categories, and on the second one we focused on specific features. I came up some ideas to improve the app, like adding dots tag on images for buyer to recognize which part is customizable immediately, and a seller kit for seller to edit their item easier. Unfortunately, we couldn’t make agreement on if these features should be built in. Some of our team members thought it was out of scope, because it was very expensive for develop department to program new features. We also discovered that the seller side app had a very confusing structure, some of us wanted to make an improvement on that, but still some of them thought it was very expensive for Etsy to change the whole structure. We couldn’t persuade each other, so we hold the issue on parking lot, but this problem caused a very big iteration after we did our first round seller testing. Three of us decided to change the structure even though we didn’t have much time left after our first seller testing, because it confused user so much.

What we agreed on:

Buyer side focused on search simplicity and ease of use for customization choices.

Seller side focused on giving seller more space to show buyers what variations they have, and considering the communication for expecting shipping time.


-Design studio

Based on what we agreed on we started our design studio. We run our design studio separately based on functionality. Our design studio focused on search, which was actually a two-part task: how to improve the buyer side, and seller side. We came up idea to add customizable option into the filter function for buyer to find customizable items quickly, and we add a highlight border on the image profile, and also a customizable banner under the image, which can help buyer to distinguish the items is customizable or not. On the seller side, our design studio focused on helping seller to specify their customizable options, and improve communication about shipping. We added more options under variation feature and we also added processing time under shipping category for buyer to see how long they can receive their purchased item.


-Mid-fi prototype



-Test scenario:

Goal of Buyer side: To see if the user can get through the buying process for a customizable item.

Task: Your friend Christina has lost her personalized monogram bar necklace. Using Etsy, browse for a new one.

First round on buyer side:

4 out of 5 users completed task scenario



We removed the highlight border, because 3 out of 5 users thought it meant selected

I add one more search screen, because 2 out of 5 users tried to use search function to find the necklace.

Second round on buyer side:

All of them completed task scenario

Goal of seller side: To see if the user can get through the listing process, and add variations

Task: You are an aspiring jewelry designer who wants to sell her customizable necklaces. Add a new listing for one of your necklaces.

First round on seller side:

2 out of 4 couldn’t complete the task

Iteration: We thought the structure of seller app was so confusing, and three of us decided to re-organize the structure by writing all the steps on sticky notes and redo the categories. Based on our new categories we created new prototypes

Second round on seller side: All of them completed the task scenario

All of the users were able to completed the task

Next step:

Since what sellers post affects what buyers can choose, I want to standardize the two app into similar layout and then combine the seller and buyer app to one app.

Hi-fi prototype:



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