When you use a well-designed product, almost everything about it seems obvious: of course your Dropbox account would live under one folder on your hard drive! A Facebook without a newsfeed wouldn’t be Facebook. You mean Twitter didn’t always have trending topics? Today, we take these features for granted, but they were once non-obvious bets on some combination of the company’s vision of the future and feedback from actual users.
We’re striving for Rummage to bring the same kind of intuitive experience to eBay, and as a small team with limited resources, we have to be very strategic about where we put our energy. So we’ve taken an approach similar to the companies mentioned above, relying heavily on user feedback to guide our design decisions.
We’ve been very happy with the results so far, and want to highlight a recent user-guided improvement to our seller profile cards as an example.
Our First Attempt at Seller Profile Cards
Our seller profile pages feature all of a seller’s listings along with a card summarizing the seller’s reputation on eBay. When Rummage launched, seller profile cards looked like this:
You’ll notice that despite mark-and-roxanne’s highly positive feedback ratio, the card emphasizes the most recent positive and negative reviews equally. We reasoned that since many shoppers scroll through pages of feedback just to read the one or two rare and potentially undeserved negative reviews, we might as well make it easy.
We knew this design would be controversial, but we decided to release it anyway for three reasons:
- It aligned with our vision of giving shoppers quick access to information about eBay sellers, including both positive and negative feedback
- We expected shoppers to get used to seeing sellers’ feedback presented this way, and understand that negative experiences are a possibility when shopping on eBay
- And most importantly: we didn’t want to spend too much time designing the seller profile cards when we were uncertain whether people would actually look at them
We deployed the feature, and promoted the update through our normal channels. We quickly learned some very interesting things:
- The seller profile page turned out to be extremely popular with eBay sellers because it gives them a nice way to present all of their inventory in an attractive, modern interface.
- But the only sellers who shared their profiles were the ones who didn’t have any visible negative feedback.
We reached out to some sellers and confirmed our initial concerns with the feedback card: it presented an unfair, imbalanced representation of the seller’s reputation. Given the popularity of this page and the justifiable reticence of a core part of our user base, we had to do better.
Seller Profile Cards Redesigned
The redesigned seller cards look like this:
See it on Rummage at this URL: http://rumma.ge/sellers/mark-and-roxanne
We’re much happier with this design because it still gives fast access to sellers’ recent positive and negative feedback (just hover your mouse over the feedback meter on any seller profile page), and also communicates the ratio of negative to positive feedback in a compact visual meter. Best of all, our sellers are happier too!
We know from experience that features rarely survive first contact with customers. The lean product development cycle we’ve adopted allows us to go into feature design sessions fully expecting that things will change. This imperfectionist mindset is liberating, and enables us to release rapidly, and learn about our users and business much faster.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this peek at how we do things here. None of this would be possible without our awesome users – so a huge thanks to all of you! As always, please email us any time with whatever feedback you have: email@example.com – we can’t wait to hear from you :)