How Optimizing Letgo Can Help Users Find Treasures Faster
Letgo, an application used as a platform for users to buy and sell new or used goods, is something I frequently use as a treasure hunting platform. I also use it to let go of some items I no longer need.
This was a case study that I conducted to test and improve some usability issues I encountered during the time I wrote this. As this study is quite extensive and outlines the full design process and thinking, you read the complete story on my Medium blog here. Otherwise, below are some key sections of the design process.
After reaching out and interviewing some friends, I found that most of them fell into 2 main types of users: Buyers and Sellers. There are also 3 main categories of users and what they care about:
New-movers looking to install new household items without spending a fortune, or sell existing household items quickly for a quick buck without paying for junk removal services
Cares about: Item, Price, Quality, Location
Casual-shoppers who aren’t willing to spend a fortune on something they want but not need (no specific item in mind)
Cares about: Price, Quality, Item, Location
Bargain-hunters that flip items to make some pocket cash
Cares about: Price, Quality, Item, Location
Essentially, there are 4 things that users care most about as part of their goals and motivations for using Letgo: Price, Quality, Item, and Location.
Item: How can I easily find the items I’m looking for?
Letgo features: Item search function with filters, similar items function
Price: How much is this item?
Letgo features: Price is displayed after users click on the item
Quality: What does this item look like? What are the details, descriptions, and dimensions, if any?
Letgo Features: Vertical image scroll, swipe down or click “show more” to display more details/description
Location: Where is this item available?
Letgo Features: Swipe down to display map and location
Additional Features: Wishlist, messaging, quick listing for sellers
Prices are displayed after the user tap on a product. Since the app is a way for buyers to quickly and conveniently browse through hundreds of items, displaying the prices during the browsing stage can allow the user to identify more products interested with fewer taps.
On the browsing screen, there is a solid white star below each product listing on the bottom left side. By pressing on this star, it becomes hollow or greyed out. A message at the bottom of the screen slides up, saying “We’ve let the seller know that you’re interested in buying this” with an “undo” button underneath. The message disappears after 3 seconds. A user that does not understand this function will press on it thinking it saves the listing that can be revisited at a later time. Instead, it fires a message to the seller, “I’m interested!”, and if the user does not press “undo” in 3 seconds, it cannot be reversed. The user cannot undo this action simply by pressing on the greyed out star. Instead, the user must click on the product listing and undo the action there. This function is unnecessary and should be replaced by something else or eliminated completely.
Validate my hypotheses with data through research and testing
Propose alternative solutions and wireframes
Create Lo-Fi to Mid-Fi prototypes for testing
Conduct user testing and check hypotheses
Propose solutions with findings
In order to validate my hypothesis, I needed to find several users and see if they experience the same issues as I do. My approach to conducting these interviews is to get find friends whom I will be meeting with sometime during the holidays. A simple and short interview which will involve asking the user to complete a few tasks given a hypothetical scenario. If this project was bigger, I would conduct guerilla and online user testing to further validate with a bigger sample size.
You have just arrived here in Vancouver from Winnipeg for a new job you were recently hired. You’re not sure if this job will become a career, but you have a good feeling about it. You are finally settling into your new bachelor’s apartment in the heart of downtown. Everything is looking awesome, but your apartment only has a bed. You need some furniture, but you don’t need expensive and fancy ones. You’re thinking about getting a nice, comfy couch and a coffee table. You have $600 set aside for these and decided to start searching on Letgo. Show me your journey and speak aloud your thoughts.
Find an item you like that is within your budget. Can you find additional details/information about this item? If there are more pictures, how do you look through them? Where can you meet this person?
You like this item but would like to explore other options. How do you save this item for another time?
Are there any thoughts/concerns before deciding to purchase this item from this user? Can you find the answers to these questions?
What do you think this solid white star in the browsing screen means? What do you think happens if you click on it? Is the result what you expect?
Is there anything that makes looking for what you want easy or frustrating?
Pain Points - Affinity Mapping
Affinity mapping is a great tool to categorize data visually. I’ve used this tool to identify the concerns and questions that users have throughout their use of the app. From here, I’ve identified two major areas of concern, which will become our user pain points. I think we have something here!
Pain Points - User Journey Map
After compiling the feedback gained from several initial user testing, I created a user journey map for my users. They all had a similar experience when using the app, and so it was easy to identify the pain points that kept popping up throughout the testing. In this user journey map, I identified the different phases and how the user feels at every stage. This will identify major pitfalls and improve on these different experiences for a more positive overall user journey.
Pain Point #1
Pain Point: I must tap into the item to view the price. This makes finding something I like at a price I like very slow.
Goal: Increase pricing visibility without compromising space and losing item visibility. Decrease time it takes to find interesting items within budget.
I would like to put the price for each item on the screen when users are browsing without too many steps and still ensure that the item pictures are visible enough. I thought about the idea of long-pressing on the item to reveal its price, but that would require an action to reveal the price (another second to hold), and that would defeat the purpose. Instead, I just added the price to the bottom of each item, while taking up just a sliver of the space. Adding a kebab menu would let users do more quick actions without going into the item and having to go back out to browse.
The first set of wireframes seem to achieve the goals without completely changing the Pinterest style of a layout that Letgo currently resembles. Now with a few simple builds with Sketch, here’s what it looks like!
05.A Prototyping & Testing
Pain Point #1
You are browsing for a cheap item to buy, which version do you prefer?
It looks like users were not too concerned with sacrificing a bit of space to display the price of the item, an attribute that helps their filtering of desirable items to arrive at their decisions faster.
Pain Point #2
Where are my favourites?
Pain Point: I can’t find where the items I saved are.
Goal: Add feedback to guide the user to where the saved items are. Add consistent wording and allow users to find saved items without confusion.
Here, I came up with 3 different places to relocate the “Save” button. I got rid of the “I’m interested” auto message because it had the same functions as the preset auto messages. I decided to redesign the auto message function to open up more spacing and decrease the number of decisions for the user to make at this screen.
I ultimately decided to go with B for a few reasons. I wanted the “Save” button to be in close proximity with the “Share” button because getting more info, sharing, and saving seem more like optional actions and as such, should be grouped closer together. The chat function would be at the very bottom in its own separate space. I grouped the auto messages together into an auto message button so users can just bring up different auto messages when they wish to. This is less confusing than “Interested”, which sends an auto message to the seller. Here is what it looks like with higher fidelity.
In the current version, when the “save” button is clicked, a feedback message is shown right beside the button. “Saved to Watchlist” is the message, but nowhere does it indicate where the Watchlist is and users are left wondering where their items are saved.
The last problem here exists in the location of saved items, or My Favourites. I decided to move My Favourites to the main menu since it is somewhere that is quite often visited. My Favourites would contain its separate folder of images instead of combined with My Profile.
05.B Prototyping & Testing
Pain Point #2
Here’s a short prototype I built with very simple and minimal animations using Principle. The prototype mainly focuses on solving for the pain points outlined in this case study.
In order to validate my hypothesis and findings, I decided to try a navigation test using both the current version and my proposed design. A navigation test is a test in which I provide a series of screens in a specific flow like steps, and given a set of instructions, users are to try and complete the steps to the best of their abilities. I used UsabilityHub for creating the two separate tests and sent to my friends and family who have never used Letgo before.
From the results, we can deduce that my proposed user flow and design has increased the number of people successfully saving an item and revisiting the same item in a folder of saved items from 0 to 7. That’s like a 700% improvement! With only 1 chance for 1 click, no users successfully made it to the end with the current version. The biggest area that we should take notice here is that the confusion is no longer there between which button to press to save the item in my proposed design. In the before-design, it is evident on the heat map that more users pressed “I’m interested” or the star, thinking it’s the button to save. Getting rid of that completely solved that issue.
Another interesting takeaway here is the average time users took to complete each step and the average time to complete the whole task. The after-design significantly took 13.3 seconds less for users to complete the entire task altogether. This means that users did not have to spend too much time to decide how to complete the current and next steps. The less time it takes for a user to think, the less confused they are and smoother the task flow.
I was curious to know if the reasons why people couldn’t complete the first task in the before-design was the same as my assumptions because that’s the step that sees the most fall off. So let’s visit the words they used as reasons for clicking anywhere else besides the correct hotspot.
The results align with my assumptions and initial user testing to find out where the pain points exist with people using Letgo.
Lastly, I needed to test the relocation of My Favourites and if it made any difference. I used a click test this time to see where users would click to find items they had previously liked and saved. I could not include this step in the navigation test because the proposed design flow would not make sense with the main menu included. Tapping on “Go Now” should take the user to My Favourites and not the Main Menu. Here were the results.
In the before-design, users took longer to decide where the saved items were, and ultimately chose a variation of locations such as Notifications, Categories, and My Profile. In the after-design, every user decided that save items are logically stored in My Favourites. Again, users spent less total time to decide because of clear and logical way finding.
To make the buying experience smoother, I identified three major pain points that users have throughout their use of Letgo as buyers.
Low pricing visibility
Confusion between “I’m interested” and “Save” buttons
Poor wayfinding for finding saved items
I conducted user testing using various methods with UsabilityHub, in order to test my prototype built by Sketch and Principle. The results tested positive against my hypotheses and my proposed task flow and designs proved to successfully improve usability and cut down duration between each step in the task flow.
I hope you enjoyed reading this process. The process from identifying the pain points to testing have seemed at times very long and obvious, but being able to back up my designs with data and using data to ensure I was actually solving user pain points was definitely worth all the time and work.
Letgo: A UX Case Study
This case study focuses on a popular mobile app, Letgo, where users can buy and sell new or used goods. I propose two hypotheses for optimizing the browsing experience and listing saving experience. I also go through the UX audit process and document the user research and testing, design, and validation.
User research, wireframing, user analysis, usability testing, affinity mapping, journey mapping, user task flow mapping