We were tasked to bring a marketplace of buyers and sellers mobile app for second hand goods. This concept by itself is not new, however the continuous evolution on the technological side of things brings exciting opportunities for us to take advantage of. We have put together aspects across Design, Technology, Research and User Behaviour areas to build a product that people love coming back to, bringing true value to the users.
What is Snap Sell?
SnapSell is the brandname we envisaged owing to the product positioning we wanted to created in potential users minds. Communicating Snap for Click and Sell, the end goal. This being the first point of entry – selling goods in the marketplace, we focused on the seller side of things, to get started on the first step to the product’s success.
It starts with research
Of all the research reading we undertook governing the seconds marketplace , the one that greatly impresses and profoundly impacts the product is our learning from – The 1970 paper by the economist George Akerl examines how the quality of goods traded in a market can degrade in the presence of information asymmetry between buyers and sellers, leaving only “lemons” behind. More so in a seconds marketplace.
We wanted to ensure that this new digital marketplace being built for an emerging market in Russia consider the fundamental uncertainity aspects of such as marketplace to bring trustworthiness to such a market; especially when haptic technology hasn’t as yet evolved for buyers to be able to touch, feel or hear about the product as the case may be.
We arrived at snapchat method of product posting, whereby every product image that a seller posts reflect the true product. The product doesn’t allow seller to pass of low quality goods as high quality through photo editing means etc. Which is completely removed as an option for users.
This means that there will be a remarkable improvement in the quality of items that get posted without the intervention of any other tools that improve the product aesthetics, putting buyers in a positive psyche when it comes to ‘SnapSell’ marketplace. This formed our core strategy for product.
Finding the perfect glyph
It was the first time we worked with a completely new set of people from a part of the world we were never exposed to – Russia. We had to really spend some good deal of time understanding the key writing forms – the cyrillic script and discuss every transliteration of our own glyphs with the founders before we could arrive at a form – that encapsulates the product story that needed to be communicated.
After exploring several routes we honed down our decisions to the ‘glyph’ you see in the present logo. We derived it from the Russian alphabet ‘S’ (which is like ‘C’ in English) and a ‘flash’ or lighting bolt symbol which stands for the ‘take a snap’ and also denotes ‘quickness’ and ‘speed’. Now, all we had to do was merge these two symbols proportionately to form a powerful logo mark, a mark to build a great brand story in future.
With a glyph like that, all we need next is a powerful, well-structured design system to form a design language for the brand. The two main pillars of a design language is color and type; we picked a simple simple color scheme – green, turquoise and shades of gray to denote freshness, snappy and peppy theme to work with. We mostly pick our typography and fonts system from Google fonts; this is very crucial and essential for digital brands and especially when they have an Android app in the product line. Picking Google fonts for the Android app will help with the consistency with which the app will load on different devices under Android OS.
Working further down the road, we explored few ideas how online market place could expand as a cohesive visual system to communicate a unique visual representation of the product to the users. We used this cohesive design network to create a range of expressions to use in our empty state areas of the mobile app and into product emails and communication system.
Stitching the solution & Product sketching
This is the part where we spend a lot of time with the founders or product owners to define the characteristics of the product, the affordances and signifiers are derived from these discussions for each screen. We use a lot of paper and sharpies to perfect the solution part and once we have all the elements we move to the final sketches.
Once we have the required final approvals. With this we are almost half way through in creating the structure for a functional and beautiful product which users would love to use. Further, we move to wire-framing, prototyping and user interface design.
Wire-framing & prototyping
This stage is extremely crucial in the product life cycle. Over the years of working with various clients from various countries and background and different products, we have formulated a mantra that optimises product development at wire-framing stage. We have derived our learnings from agile management methodologies for wireframing.
Our mantra is simple – Low Fidelity Wireframing + High Fidelity Prototyping.
We use basic tools and custom stencils to quickly drum-up required layouts which communicate how things connect and interact with each other. This reduces a lot of costs, time and effort in getting all stakeholders involved on the same page.
We let our vision and third eye take over for a while in creating and very high fidelity prototypes that can stimulate our senses. With an interactive prototype before starting a single line of code is a huge time saver in development. The engineering team exactly knows the task they have at hand and can estimate exact number of hours and effort it will take to create the product and we are never wrong taking this mantra of ours.
Product design & Iterations
With a new visual design system defined and set in place, we designed the mobile app for both Android (Material Design) and iOS (9, at that time). We gave the interface a feel bright and fresh look with lots of white space and highlights of primary brand color ‘green’, thoughtfully and carefully place to give a clear sense of navigation and direction to the user to complete the desired task.
Using illustrations, which were defined during the branding phase we brought elements of surprise to delight the user along the journey through the app. All icons were designed in rounded form to have a friendlier and fresh approach in the display.
Design delivery to development team
Thanks to culmination of such broad efforts that enable impactful product builds – we specialise in design communication. There are tens of things that can still go wrong at this stage and we do not let the ball drop. We take extreme pride in communicating our exact design to the development team in their own code language. We supply, CSS, HTML, Java Scripts and interaction libraries if we have to, to make things easy and smooth for the product. Our communication templates and delivery modules drastically cut down development time and enable engineering team in focussing on fixing bugs to build a formidable product all stake holders are proud of.