How might we create a new product, which solves for the needs of the eBay collector community, while linking back to and inspiring commerce on the eBay core site?
A website where collectors search for what they collect, seamlessly tag items they own and/or want, and automatically manage their account.
One of the executive sponsors for our startup innovation group thought it would be a great idea to create a startup product for eBay's original audience, the collector community. This was around 2011 when larger corporations were starting to try and emulate the process of creating product like a startup. We decided that our product should be at the intersection of searching for the items you collect, referencing your collection against an authentic checklist, and seamless digital management of your own collection. The executive sponsor was a collector of baseball cards and I was a collector of comics, so we started with those two verticals first.
As a team, we whiteboarded the various flows, and agreed upon the experience itself to exist outside of eBay. That said, we looked for opportunities where we could redirect a user to eBay to make a purchase, because ultimately, this product needed to create revenue for eBay.
This concept of an "authentic set" was fascinating to me, because it had to visually be presented to a user throughout the site in a variety of formats, from a small component within search results to it's own profile page. How would we show it? How was it going to be different than a single item within a set?
The size of our team went from 5 people to 3 for quite some time before expanding back to 5 again: 1 designer, 1 product manager, and 1 engineer. Because of the reduction in team size, there were aspects of the design, which weren't prioritized because we didn't have capacity to take it on compared to more function specific user stories. Instead, I learned some very lightweight html and css prototyping skills and coded some the more visually specific elements of the design I wanted to see brought to life within the product.
We wanted the search results screen to be both scannable and comprehensive. Our goal was to give the user enough of a preview into the collection so identifying the exact set of items they were looking for would be as efficient as possible. The anatomy of that preview included the set's name, the first 7 items from it's checklist, total number of items within the set, it's category, and a brief description.
Each set has it's own official landing page, which shows the user details and a description of the set, the authentic checklist of items listed out in order, and specific items from that set that users have decided to share with the larger Setify community. The page serves as both a destination for learning and collection management. Each item within the checklist can be tagged as want and own. Tagging and untagging items is the method which a user seamlessly manages their online collection and wishlist, available in their private profile.
Each item has it's own details page where the user can read up on additional details. For example, a comic book detail page could contain alternate covers, related storylines, and interesting facts.
A key part of the item details screen is providing a list of eBay listings for that item. This enables the user to quickly purchase the item, especially if they find it at a great price. This also represents where Setify links the user back to eBay's core site. Up until now, everything has been strictly on Setify.
Much like the search results screen, our intention with the collection screen was to give the user a comprehensive overview of what sets they're collecting as well as a quick preview of their progress on each set.