Warm Gun: Design for Competing Interests

by Luke Wroblewski October 12, 2010

In his Designing for Competing Interests: Buyers, and Sellers, and Designers talk at the Warm Gun Design Conference in San Francisco, Zazzle's Mike Talvensaari discussed how the tension between multiple types of users can impact digital product design. Here's my notes from his talk:

  • Zazzle is the world’s largest customizable products marketplace. On the site, sellers want to sell things and buyers want to buy things. It should be a match made in heaven but experience proves otherwise.
  • Zazzle rigorously tested and launched a new design that delivered a 25% increase in conversions on t-shirt purchases. But they got a lot of feedback from sellers that they hated the design.
  • The team did usability testing, A/B testing, etc. So the design was right –no? Not if Zazzle’s sellers were unhappy. They drive the business on the site.
  • Between 1916 and 2008 there were perhaps hunderds of custom Keds shoes designed. Within 3 weeks on Zazzle there was 362,000 custom Keds shoes made. There have been over 16 million custom t-shirt designs one Zazzle. Sellers made all this possible so they need to be heard.
  • Listen to what they want but give them what they need.
  • Ways to keep in touch with buyers: surveys, usability testing, focus groups, click-tracking, data-analysis.
  • Sellers are easier to stay in touch with. They are more engaged and responsive. So it is possible to keep them in the loop on upcoming design changes.
  • Ways to keep in touch with sellers: forums, email, surveys, seller newsletters, weekly phone calls.
  • Everyone is designing for multiple user types. Zazzle designs for buyers but keeps sellers in mind.