Until late 2017 Etsy ran two products in France, A little Market (marketplace for hand made products) and A little Mercerie (marketplace for DIY supplies). I led the product team for both, up until they were finally integrated into etsy.com.
With a team of wonderful designers, developers and product managers we worked on all sizes of projects. Here are three.
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Search is central to product discovery on any e-commerce site. A little Market’s had not been improved in a number of years and was clunky for users, leading to abandonment. How could we provide a world class experience that made it easier for our customers find the perfect product, particularly on mobile?
UX research and wireframing, overseeing design, development and testing.
I led the entire product development process, from initial research into challenges with the existing interface, to design of all new wireframes, to determining the backlog and working with the engineering and data teams to deliver and test the improvements in two major phases.
We began by going deep into the existing issues, user testing familiar searches with a range of users, with both face to face interviews and remotely using usertesting.com.
I then went deeper into the issues affecting our search experience, using five sources:
- Our analytics, looking at the types of searches that didn’t lead to a successful transaction, and how they differ from those that do.
- Evaluating against best practice, for which we used Baymard’s ‘E-Commerce Search Usability‘ guidance.
- Learnings from etsy.com and how conversion rate had been successfully increased, specific to search.
- My own heuristic analysis.
- The engineering team analysed the source of issues such as lag time, and provided recommendations on how to rebuild.
Heuristic analysis, problems with the existing search:
The major drawbacks identified were:
- Number of products on show. On desktop the search results were not full width, and the top results fell below the fold. Pagination was clunky and we found that the more users could see in one go the more likely they were to spot something they liked.
- Usefulness and find-ability of filters. Filter usage was low, and organisation within filters was overwhelming and confusing – such as a text list of 30+ colours. However we knew that those who did filter were significantly more likely to purchase.
- Product thumbnails. Our thumbnails showed information that wasn’t aiding users (e.g. number of items available) and omitted others that would (e.g. how local to the user the seller was).
From here I developed a full set of new wireframes to address the key issues:
The key recommendations were:
- Full width search results. Enable users to see more products, more quickly – particularly evident on desktop.
- Horizontal filters, simplified. Show the filters in accordance with their usage frequency, more visibly at the top, with options decluttered and focused on what people really used.
- Optimised thumbnails. Giving the users the information they need and nothing more, focusing on the visual of the product.
These were tested with users and received an exceptionally positive response.
The design team broke the recommendations into iteratively releasable phases, which could be tested in an isolated way. The interface was redesigned mobile first, and each major iteration tested to determine significance.
To explore one example, here’s the colour picker.
This is how it had been in the old version of search:
Here is the revised wireframe, which grouped colours (e.g. ‘turquoise’ and ‘blue’) and gave a visual reference:
And the final design:
The redesign led to a 5% increase in conversion rate on the site, and overwhelmingly positive feedback from our buyers and sellers.
The growth rate of A little Mercerie, our handmade supplies marketplace, was declining. How could we use the passion of our community of crafters to build something that would reignite growth?
Solution: La Makerie: A craft recipe and contest site – ‘Product Hunt for handmade creations’. A social platform that enabled crafters to share their creations, reach out to their own networks to garner votes for a daily ‘Creation du jour’ competition, and drive through to materials to purchase on A little Mercerie.
I led the project from identifying the problem through to launch readiness, with a small focused team of a designer, a full stack developer, a craft & community specialist and a product manager.
This was a project run on full Lean Startup principles, heavily influenced by my time working with the wonderful Rainmaking Innovation. Our goal was to derisk a Business Model Canvas, to have confidence we had a real user need.
As the goal was self sustaining growth, implicit virality was essential to design in from the start. Nir Eyal’s ‘Hooked‘ book formed a strong basis for the strategy – particularly the successful viral loops that this approach had generated for Product Hunt.
We began with in depth user research, talking to our creator community in face to face interviews to understand a primary question: how do they find inspiration for what to make?
We found that our community used Pinterest and blogs to find ideas, they have a huge amount of pride in their handmade creations, a desire to share, and wanted to drive more views to their products.
We generated a range of concepts to help them meet this need, from online craft lessons to offline craft clubs, and set about validating with further rounds of user research.
The idea that resonated by far the most strongly was a platform to find and share ideas for what to make. We called it La Makerie.
The concept was simple: invite our community to share their handmade creations, and every day the creation with the most votes would win ‘Creation du jour’. This would encourage creators to invite their communities to vote, growing a user base. Each creation was easy to upload – just a photo and, crucially, tagging the materials used. This created a keyword search to drive back to A little Mercerie for any viewers looking to recreate the product.
If the traffic generated from each creation uploaded outweighed the proportion of users who uploaded we would have a viral coefficient of more than 1, and the platform would grow. If the revenue driven my sales on A little Mercerie outweighed the cost per acquisition then it would generate profit.
The platform was entirely built, tested, with amazing feedback and ready to go when the decision was made to integrate all ALM properties into etsy.com so unfortunately it was never widely launched. However, a related product exists for those looking for their handmade ideas fix within the projects section of Etsy Studio.
A project not derived from a user problem specifically, but an opportunity. A hack week gives the team a chance to stretch their legs and show what they can do, and our team’s iOS engineer set out to build a tvOS app for A little Market
The project was led and developed by iOS engineer Jonathan Bouaziz. I helped guide the relationship with Apple to make sure we were following best practice for an emerging platform, and the user experience – particularly the intricacies of the handover from tvOS to iOS or web for purchases, which weren’t possible on the TV.
tvOS has a different set of problems to any other platform – no mouse, and no swipe gestures like on a phone. We had to drastically simplify the interface and make it work with the Siri Remote or a games controller.
We worked through the home page, search experience and product listing page; testing with users internally. Jonathan experimented with some of the UI components available to get a really smooth experience. I worked on how we can clearly direct users without accounts to sign up, or those who had them to log in, and the hand off between TV and phone.
Once settled, the final build was done in a little over a week entirely in Swift.
The app was featured by Apple on launch and went on to picked as one of the ‘Best of 2016’ tvOS apps.