The Exercise: Garage Sale Helper
Preparing your own garage sale is often a daunting task. It’s also difficult for potential buyers to discover your merchandise. Design an experience that makes it easier for sellers to intelligently inventory their goods, and helps bargain hunters find the needle in a haystack.
Who is the user?
After gaining a better sense of how sellers and shoppers approached garage sales, I defined my two target users; the bargain hunter and basic seller.
From my research I determined that there are two main types of buyers, bargain hunters and casual shoppers. I chose to focus on the bargain hunter as one of my users. They are more likely to use and benefit from a garage sale helper platform.
My seller is what I am calling a "basic" seller. They have a sale about once every 2-3 years and recognize that their garage is not a antique store.
Dennis is in his mid twenties and collects unique and quirky items to decorate his apartment. Dennis is always hunting for a deal and is exciting when he strikes a great bargain. He creates a wish list and plans a route before he leaves his apartment. He often looks up items on his phone before purchasing them to make sure that he is making smart purchasing decisions.
Seller Persona: JoAnn
JoAnn is a mother with kids that have recently gone off to college. Now that they are out of the house, this is a good time for her to get organized and sell unwanted items. She lives in a suburban neighborhood where you can find at least one garage sale every weekend. She has had several garage sales over the years but is yet to master hosting the perfect garage sale.
How do the users currently do this?
The next step in my design process is examining the current scenario. How do buyers and sellers currently approach garage sales? Creating the as-is scenario helps me further understand the user by breaking down their workflow into the "how". How are they currently accomplishing these steps? From here I discover things that are working and things that are causing pain.
After all these exercises I have decided to design a mobile app.
Why? A mobile app is appropriate for this situation for several reasons. The camera on a mobile phone makes it easy for a seller to visually catalog items. The buyer would already be using their phone to research items. Both of the users are outside and on the move.
Requirements for the app
Must support both seller and buyer activity Why? A user may be a seller one weekend and a buyer another weekend requiring easy switching between modes.
- List a sale Why? Easy form of advertising.
- See other sales in neighborhood Why? Sales on the same date in the same neighborhood increase attendance.
- Categorize, photograph, and price items Why? Items will be viewable by buyers on the app, attracting more people to their garage sale.
- See sales in neighborhood Why? Easily plan routes.
- Search items across sales Why? Buyers can shop more efficiently by knowing what type of items are at the sale before attending.
In the sketching phase I focus on getting the content right. What information should be on each screen? How should the flow of performing a task work? How many screens should it take to complete the task?
I went through several iterations of the "add item" flow. This flow was the most challenging for me because I knew it to be simple and quick to execute. It needs to be very easy for sellers to post their items.
High Fidelity Phase
My visual design style aims at making content the focus. I like to keep a clean and minimalist UI that still maintains a distinct style. While the content is the focus of the UI, the user still feels transported by the visual design. I chose a cool green as an accent color to emphasize the ideas of neighborhood, recycling, and purchasing.
I made a street view image the cover photo for the listing. This is useful for two reasons. First, it helps the buyer identify the sale location when they arrive at the address. Second, it gives the buyer a sense of the type of neighborhood they are visiting. This may clue them into the type of items and pricing of items at the sale.
I took the images off the cards. I discovered that they were too small to add any informational value to the explore screen.