A thrift store in your pocket.
It all started with a simple problem. I was a poor college student with plenty of no longer worn, lightly used clothes. I saw an opportunity to help afford my next batch of ramen, but there were no easy-to-use apps for clothes selling to help make ends meet - or even to pick up a pair of nice but affordable sneakers. The only options were un-trustworthy, difficult to use, and frankly hard to look at. Shipp solves all of these issues, delivering a way to easily buy and sell clothes online with a simple and beautiful interface.
The goals are simple:
- To provide an easy-to-use, friendly, and beautiful e-thrifting experience
- Retain the best aspects of my competitors, while finding new innovative solutions for the prime pain points
- Gain the trust of new users in such a trust-dependent market (personal retail) through convincing copy, friendly design, and an intuitive interface
I worked on an extensive list of viable competitors and recorded all of their features, strengths, and weaknesses. Through this research I was able to establish an early list of features to include and how to improve on them.
This competitive research helped me establish the market and precise target demographic that I wanted to focus on. After I collected information from as many external sources as possible, I had to go deeper. I created an initial spectrum of potential users, ranging from sellers, to buyers, to both sellers and buyers, etc. each in different economic spectrums. An extensive survey was sent out to many people within my target demographic, which can be found here. The results displayed showed very conclusively that there IS a huge need for a quality app like this. This survey helped develop a more detailed set of people that would use this app, as well as their motivations, reasoning, and financial situations. I then interviewed people that fell within this initial spectrum of patterns for the most ideal users and solidified exactly what their general personality was. These interviews resulted in the development of a comprehensive set of detailed personas.
Anything that my found demographic had in common, from personality traits, to habits, to of course their needs and wants in this app were recorded. All of these patterns I amalgamated into two user personas as seen below. Two classic personalities were made, the "buyer" and "seller," centralizing around the overwhelming user request for "cheap alternatives" to their favorite brands.
Feature List and Prioritization
A list of features were developed and sorted by must, should, and could. This allows me to explore expansion in future projects but develops a valuable minimum viable product. The majority of surveyed and interviewed users wanted a "sell to and buying to service much like a thrift shop". Most respondents reported this need because they felt that peer to peer hosted clothing selling was too unregulated and untrustworthy. This means my list of features would need to cater to this need, being able to provide a consistently high quality product since all of the items will be processed through a headquarters. This is very similar to only one other competitor, Thred Up, who only caters to women and children.
A simplified interface type user flow was developed to be sure all of the necessary features of the application were covered. It was made sure that all flows and interactions don't result in loops an take the user on the most efficient path possible.
Early Stage Wireframes
After a comprehensive series of initial whiteboard sketches, digital wireframes were made using Sketch. Every interaction present in the aforementioned user flow were pinpointed, and a priority was made to minimize clicks for the core experience, all while keeping the app as simple but functional as possible. Early on, prototyping and user testing was performed to make sure it was easy for users to follow the user flow and understand the functionality of the app. Three rounds of wiring, prototyping, testing, and iterating were made to result in the current design of the app.
Name and Logo Design
After wireframing was done, an identity was to be made for this app. In terms of the name, Shipp was decided because it allows for many meanings. The blue color chosen for the app pairs nicely with a nautical theme, but the term ship of course can also apply to shipping someone an article of clothing, or them shipping it to us. On a lighter note, there is always the millenial colloquialism of "I ship it!" Pictured is the logo, an anchor with the tie-in of a tie to bring together nautical themes with high fashion menswear. This logo went through a few rounds of sketches and iterations to make sure the message was clear and the design was effective.
Final UI Design
Initial research showed that the best color for selling clothes and gaining trust was a blue. I explored hundreds of color palettes and decided the best was a navy/dark blue, with a hint of yellow. In addition, I wanted a modern look so I went for a sans serif hairline font named Lato.
I developed the UI as seen on the left through many iterations of user testing in response to key interactions, as well as competitive research, finding how and why the most successful apps are designed the way they are.
View the final prototype with updated UI here.