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Individual Project

UX Research
Interaction Design
User Experience Design
Visual Design

January 2015

Design Problem

When we have those no longer in use items piled up in the corner. The best way to get rid of them is to sell them, second-hand. There are many ways to sell your second-hand goods, such as in second hand stores, garage sale, flea market, or even online, but what if it’s just to let go of your sport shoes and vintage sweater?

Second hand trading is frustrating.

Proposed Solution

Swap your second-hand goods nearby.
An application that helps people exchanging their second-hand items by finding out who is trading interesting goods within your community. Also a social platform to meet others who share the same interests and tastes.


Research questions:

Why people want to trade second-hand goods?
How often do people trade second-hand goods?
What are the existing methods of getting rid off old wares?
What factors people consider while dealing with old goods?
What frustrations do people have during the process?

Key take aways from the research:

  • Current online second-hand trading markets are mostly for financial gains.
  • Buyers are curious about the stories behind second-hand products.
  • Except for professional traders, benefiting from selling second-hand goods is viewed as an adds-on value.
  • Give away or exchange with others is mostly limited to the condition of acquaintance.
  • When it comes to one or two items, many choose not to sell, because setting it up is a hassle.
  • Searching for ideal items is overwhelming and risky due to the market irregularity.
  • Offline second-hand trading markets are mostly for professional traders, since it requires a lot resources to set up. People with small business are more likely to trade online.

Existing virtual options:

After the informal competitive analysis through web search, I found out there are already many options for online second-hand trading, such as Craigslist , eBay, Carousel, Threadflip and so on. Most of the tools focused on buying and selling with payment transactions, attracting users by discount. They are not limited to second-hand goods, but also are market platforms for regular shopping.

Create New Options

"Sharing and Collaborative"

I discovered that there are lots of second-hand trade apps but wasn’t perfect. they aren’t that much different from regular online shopping experience. However they are perceived as riskier because of market irregularity and trust issues. On the other side, compared to offline second-hand markets, the experience is tedious and plain due to the lose of human interaction, and the treasure hunt feelings.

What if the second-hand market could be more towards "sharing and collaborative", instead of money oriented ?

What if it's a place offers a smaller, community experience with more personal interactions and trust, a place where people would like to trade even small items just for fun ?


The criterias I created to help me achieve that goal:

Building trust between users.
Location based, helping users discover what’s around.
More for distraction/entertainment rather than for business.
An app for socializing. Meet with people who share the same taste and interest.

Team Member
Discover new products

Kelly, 27
"I like shopping for clothes, and many of the clothes I stopped wearing are still in a good shape, I’d love to exchange with someone who shares the similar taste. "

Team Member
Meet people who share the same interest

David, 32
"I am a biker and I collect lots of bike gears in my garage. It would be nice if I can exchange tools and share experience with people who likes bikes as well."

Team Member
Exchange locally

Alex, 22
"I'd like to trade with people who are from the same community, so that I can trust more. And if it's within my friends circle that would be the best."

User Journey Map

Map out essential features

I believe the experience would be more desirable when it gives people what they need not everything it can provide. To help me create a feature list and prioritization, I developed a user journey map to map out essential features that enable users to accomplish each step.

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Top level view strategies

After onboard, the app starts with the discover screen to communicate its capabilities by introducing the user to the major functional areas. A side nav panel to cross-navigation between views which aren’t directly related, making sure that the user can navigate between different other views efficiently.

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Interface & Interaction

After having decided the structure of the app and its information architecture, I sketched a lot to figure out how those features should be organized and put into each screen, including some basic shapes and forms. It also included some initial explorations on the interactions. I wanted the interaction of swapping goods to be intuitive, and delightful. I didn’t want to offer the same scrolling and tapping experience as most of the shopping apps do.

The first thing came up to my mind is washing machine, the idea of that you drop in something dirty and open it later, something clean comes out of it. I started playing with circles, and more ideas followed, like merry-go-around and the movement of satellite. I tried to map those shapes into the interface, but also have to compromise with usability and keeping the pattern consistent throughout the app.


Keep the story interesting

I identified the most challenging aspect of the user interface, which are the discover screen and account screen, and then created wireframes for those particular parts first. The challenge is to keep the story interesting. To achieve that, I made high-level screen, the discover screen, visually unique, and tell a story from the top to capture and hold interest.

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John lives in Chicago, and he has way too many sneakers he could actually wear. He was thinking about trading his addidas sneakers with a nice backpack. He would like to see if he could find something nice on Circulate.

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