The bag that changed Depop forever.

Release: February 2019 (iOS & Android)
My Role: Sole designer on the Sellers team
:

Up until early this year, you could only buy one thing at a time from a seller on Depop. Want to buy 3 things from 3 different sellers? You‘d have to go through our checkout three separate times.

This really wasn’t so problematic at the beginning but today over 10 million people use Depop. Today, we have more sellers than ever before, which means more creative, unique items to fall in love and buy.. and so the friction of going through checkout multiple times (usually one after another) might wither your intent to buy.

This had already lead to people hacking Depop. When someone wanted to buy 2 or more items from a shop, are they going to checkout twice and pay for shipping two times? Nope, they get the seller to create a bundle. A bundle is one listing with multiple items in it. It looks like this and upon downloading Depop, it’s probably one of the first things you’ll notice.

So we decided to give people the ability to buy multiple things at once. Depop has many moving parts so this meant touching almost every part of the experience. Where does this thing even live? What does a receipt look like when you’ve bought 5 items from a seller? What happens when something goes wrong and you need to return a 1 item out of the 5?

This project would change the landscape of Depop forever. Being the only designer on this project, below are some things that went well and other things I learnt along the way.

RETROSPECTIVE

What went well?

Design principles alongside personas

Personas are really important, they help us remember who we’re designing for but design principles tell us how we should design an experience. They keep us level headed. This project was fairly big so we had design principles for each major part of the project

Discounts are inherent to every bundle purchase. When you buy 2 items from me, I might give you 10% off. So my product manager and I created a set of principles for the discounts part of this project. One of them was..

Stay true to our community (the experience needed to feel Depop and not like someone else)

Every time we had a design critique, we’d print out the principles and put them up next to the designs. We’d also make sure to reiterate the principles so that people could bear them in mind when critiquing. This helped us to get meaningful feedback.

Designer, Developer and PM sandwich.

At Depop we sit in feature-based teams. I’m sandwiched between the product manager and iOS developer on my team. This set up meant that we’d inevitably work through things quickly.

If a product manager or developer has a question about a design you can quickly answer without blocking the team. If I have a question about whether what I’m designing is technically possible or not, I can quickly turn to my right and ask the iOS developer. If a build was ready, the developer didn’t always need to schedule a meeting and send over a link for me to download the build. I could review it on their device and most of the time they could make live tweaks. If a native technical constraint came up, we could collaborate and all of us could work through it, without the bureaucracy.

Of course, you have to respect each others time, and if someone looks like they’re deep in work — try not to interrupt them but for the most part, it worked really well

Sitting together also brings you closer as a team, which is essential for projects that can take longer than a few sprints. These are the people you’re in the trenches with, it helps to be able to gel with each other and be aligned on the goal.

Don’t forget the details

Attention to detail is essential. As someone who spent years in the world of architecture, I can tell you that the structural integrity of some of the tallest buildings rely on some of the smallest components. In the same breath, it’s important to focus on even the tiniest details like an interaction, to make sure users have a complete experience.

ezgif.com-video-to-gif (10)

Stepping outside the artboard

Artboards on Sketch are completely different to how people will experience your design. They won’t always go through a happy flow and may even wander to different parts of the app. When working on bigger projects, it’s incredibly useful to step outside the artboard and change the angle that you’re viewing the experience from.

When you want to see how something feels, put your designs in a device so that you can experience your designs in context.

When you want to see how your design works as part of an entire story, print them out and stick them on a wall next to related screens. It’s also way easier to picture screens in various states when they’re up on a wall.

When the technical constraints give you lemons, make lemonade.

Inevitably, constraints that we didn’t know existed arose, but when this happens don’t panic. Work with your team to create the best experience possible despite constraints.

We discovered that people wouldn’t be able to buy multiple things from multiple sellers at one time, they’d only be able to buy multiple things from a single seller. So we decided to create a mini bag for each shop. We called these mini-bags ‘bundles’ because that’s what our users call them today.

When testing, we found that buyers loved having the bag like this. It helped keep them organised and because we had named it a ‘bundle’, they could relate the new feature to the old experience. This made it easier to understand and seemed like a massive change to the experience and more like a natural transition.

Feedback

This project was massively shaped by the feedback we received at different points. We often hosted design critiques with alternate parts of the business (designers and non-designers alike).

 A good way to run these is to spend some time initially explaining principles and going through the design, but then asking people to write their feedback on post-its independently & stick it on the design. Then the facilitator would group similar feedback and run through each one.

I’ve found that this helps people not feel pressured to say something for the sake of saying it and not to be swayed by the loudest voice. It also helps keep discussions on-topic.

Test often with real users

Put your designs in front of the people who use your product day in day out and do it regularly.

During this project, I created a fun, easy to understand deck that gave users a background to the project and what it would mean for Depop. We sent these to users with a link to sign up to become beta testers. Many of them did, giving us a pool of users we could regularly test with and show sneak peeks of the feature.

Screenshot 2019-03-08 at 17.00.48

When you test, pay more attention to what they do rather than what they say. In a testing session, I asked users to create a new discount and noticed that all of them tapped the back button first. Despite users telling us they loved the feature, this highlighted that the CTA wasn’t clear enough and that there were some navigational issues in the flow.

Some Learnings

Keep the right people in the know

Things move fast and no one wants to feel out of the loop so when you step outside the artboard and stick designs on the wall, keep the wall updated. Having regular meetings to let stakeholders know of any changes, is really useful for bigger projects, they’re human and forget stuff too so take it on yourself to routinely refresh their minds.

Do something with feedback

Inevitably, you’ll receive lots of feedback over the span of the project from many different sources. Not all of it will be actionable, some might not even seem relevant but it’s important to document this feedback (even if it’s just in a spreadsheet) and then group together the things that keep coming up. This will help you stay organised as the project grows over time.

Edge cases

When designing a product with 10 million users an edge case that doesn’t affect 90% of users still affects 1 million people. That’s double the population of Luxembourg. So whilst most advice will tell you not to focus on edge cases, for projects that will reshape the landscape of your product, it’s important to create the best experience possible, even for edge cases.

For us this meant spending some time in a room with the entire team, working through what happens when someone wants to buy something that is listed by the same seller but in a different country alongside something has just sold out.

It might seem tedious at the time, but the person experiencing your product will thank you for it.

What we created

All of the above contributed to the bag feature, this is what it looks like today.

RESULTS

How’s it doing?

We’ve seen a day by day increase in bundle purchases. With our largest bundle so far being 26 items!

The natural next step is to build out our current MVP and turn it into an experience that people will love even more. I’ve massively enjoyed working on this project and would like to give a special thanks to everyone on the Sellers’ Team who was on this journey alongside me 🚀