Ricardo.ch is the leading online auction marketplace in Switzerland. In 2018, they planned to rewrite their apps and transition from a somewhat outdated cross-platform app to new and sleek native apps for Android and iOS. We stepped in to ensure that the next generation of the apps would primarily cater to the users' needs and implement the best practice native patterns to make the development process efficient and effective.
Although it appears to be a straightforward online auction site where users can buy and sell products, ricardo.ch offers a wide range of features under the hood. These features include search and filtering options, saved searches, the ability to follow sellers and save products, ask questions about listed items, make payments, and more.
When building a new app from scratch with the goal of launching it in the near future, it is essential to carefully consider the approach to ensure success. This involves scoping out the project and identifying the key features that should be included. Additionally, it is crucial to avoid guesswork and ensure that the key features are correctly implemented from the start to prevent the need for rebuilding in the future.
In close collaboration with the product managers, engineering and design teams at ricardo.ch, and the in-house user research team at TX Group, we worked out a new app concept to impress and delight their users.
Together with the research team, we conducted interviews and usability tests frequently to understand the users' needs on specific topics, such as important information for auctions they participate in, and to test the concepts and ensure that we were moving in the right direction with our designs. This helped us avoid wasting time on opinion-based discussions and premature implementation.
Micro case: Auto-bid
One crucial lesson we learned during this process was regarding the auto-bid feature. This feature enables users to set the system to bid up to a maximum limit on their behalf. While it is popular with the existing users, it undermined the trust of new users since they were often outbid the very second they placed a bid. Some users thought they were bidding against a robot. We learned that the process was not transparent enough, making many new users doubt the platform's trustworthiness.
After several design and test iterations, we worked out a way to solve the auto-bid issue by indicating who was behind the bid and when the bid was from. We also added an animation to help users understand the process more easily. We tested it once again, and when all the checks passed, and we knew the issue had been resolved, we handed it over to the developers for implementation.
UX approach for increased trust
By following a user-centered design approach, we were able to deliver solutions that were effective from the very beginning. In the auto-bid example, this approach allowed us to build customer trust by identifying the insecurities that auto-bids caused for new users and to iterate and find a good solution, all without the developers writing a single line of code before we knew our design proposals worked. During the process, we identified and resolved numerous user pain points, resulting in an overall improvement in customers' trust in the platform.
Standard native patterns for better UX and faster implementation
Moreover, we have used standard native patterns for Android and iOS. This approach provided users with familiar patterns and accelerated the development process by enabling developers to use readily available solutions. As a result, the apps have become more user friendly and future-proof, ensuring they will work even when updates are coming.
The new apps have elevated the mobile experience of ricardo.ch to a new level by delivering the kind of experience customers expect from an established marketplace.