Before you can buy or sell anything on eBay, you have to register. Easy, right! Well, maybe one day. I have worked to reshape registration into a straightforward experience, focusing on integrating it into the natural flow of each scenario, and removing unnecessary obstacles.
The 2018 Vision
While it will probably never be implemented, this idealized concept is the longer term goal, helping to keep our registration priorities straight. This experience focuses on imagery, user feedback, directionality, personalization, and incentivization, without creating unnecessary hurtles and aligning with ebay's new design patterns. By recognizing that registration is a part of a bigger experience, we are able to determine the balance between an exciting aesthetic experience and utility.
The current experience is the outcome of several smaller projects to optimize the original screens. The optimized experience focused on meeting the user's mental model and simplification, and has already increased conversion by 3-5%. Check out the current experience here.
When we start to consider design patterns, technical constraints, downstream impacts, and business considerations, the ideal concept gets broken down into incremental steps. Then we can start working towards a the desired outcome.
The flow. On eBay, users must register if they are planning on selling anything, ask a seller a question, make an offer, place a bid, or watch an item. When using the Buy It Now functionality, users have the choice to register or check out as a guest. To make it more complicated registration has two parts the registration page (including name, email, and password) and the upgrade page (a contact form, including the user's home address and a phone number). We will focus on the optimization of the registration page experience.
The problem. Registration optimization was prioritized because there was significant user drop-off, starting when the user landed on the sign in page through the user encountering the upgrade page. I conducted a heuristic evaluation identifying 8 key problem areas that acted as hypotheses for the drop-off: transitions, scalability, feedback, directionality, incentivization, points of connection, portraying the eBay identity, and simplicity. See the deck
Knowing what works. With the problem areas in mind, I looked at registration and onboarding experiences that exist in the market place, creating an exemplar analysis, and conducted interviews about registration (see the deck). The analyses identified themes and user wants that would help guide the concept exploration:
6 Registration Themes
Look and Feel
Localized User Journey
Integrate the User
9 User Wants
Users want to know what registering will do for them.
Users want to feel that what they are filling out is beneficial for them.
Users are only willing to answer questions that are at eBay’s core -- Their perception of the core functionality.
Users want to know where they are and if what they did was right.
Users want to be led through a process, minimizing cognitive load.
Users want their eBay identity to reflect their own identity.
Users want to be 'directed' into the eBay experience from registration.
Users want to connect registration to the eBay brand, representing what eBay does and how it should make them feel.
Users want registration to connect them with other relevant existing tools and functionality.
Targeting a user. With no specific user designated by the greater team, I decided to look into different types of users that shop online. After landing on millennials, being as they are the largest age group with a rising income and an increasing passion for shopping online, I considered narrowing down even further. I landed on millennial moms, who make up nearly half of all millennial women. These women have disposable income, and are looking for an enjoyable and convenient shopping experience. This makes them an almost ideal target user for any e-commerce site, and an untapped group for eBay.
Going broad. Using the learnings from my research, I explored a variety of possibilities, ranging from avatar selection and field based checkmarks to autofill frameworks and task based form structures.
Identifying areas of focus. When taking into consideration downstream impacts, verification services, design patterns, system constraints, and scope, the realm of possibility is narrowed and we can identify smaller design pieces. This included: re-arranging the form, re-skinning the screens, removing the phone and email confirmation fields, updating the password policy and user experience, implementing email autocomplete, defining an error handling experience, updating content, and using an enable/disable button to train user behavior.
Iteration of the registration page
Going deep. Three design pieces that stood out were the name field, email autocomplete, and the password experience.
Name field. My first instinct was to combine the name fields into a single field, titled 'Full name'. I worked with my project manager and content strategist to convince all of our stakeholder and confirm that we did not parse names in the database. I designed verification components to deal with downstream consequences. But 6 months into design and development we found out that a single vendor needed it parsed, so we moved back to separate fields, 'First name' and 'Last name'.
Email autocomplete. There are certain parts of every experience that users just expect. One of those parts is a user's email domain. A domain is one of the easiest things to predict based on the first letter or two, country of origin, and browser caching, so why not allow the user to complete it with one key stroke? I looked at different ways to accomplish this interaction.
Password experience. The password redesign encompassed three projects, working with the security team to create a well defined password policy that would keep users safe but not hinder their ability to move forward, advocating against the use of a strength bar that accepted weak passwords, and defining the interaction of a new password field design.
Future Design Explorations
Breaking through barriers. With the low hanging fruit out of the way, we can focus on bigger changes, infrastructural changes, vendor changes, and more. We can start designer with greater purpose on projects like social registration, a subscription model, adaptive experiences, cross device sign in, password-less registration, and updating the user journey.
System changes. Throughout the process, the greater design team was taking on a new design library that we could re-skin and re-shape our own domains with. I explored a number of possibilities defining ranges for registration in visual, tone, form, function, context, and systemic impact, which was the inspiration for the ideal design, shown at the top.
Visioning. As part of eBay's transition to an agile framework, we visioned frequently to meet the new quarterly release planning. One of the visioning projects I worked on was a subscription framework, in place of gating with registration. I started to look into this because eBay requires sign in/registration at many user touch-points, acting as an unnecessary obstacle. A subscription model could lower the barrier of entry and give eBay an opportunity to follow up with these users.
At the beginning of the registration optimization project I conducted several different types of research including heuristic evaluations, a competitive analysis, stakeholder interviews, and user interviews. Some of the findings can be found in the attached decks.