Taking the Pain Out of Listing Motor Parts

eBay Motors set out to enhance their seller experience by leveraging auto parts data and creating a semi-automated flow for posting new or used auto parts.

With the aim of helping sellers more quickly post motor parts to sell, eBay Motors team reached out to our user research to test two prototypes:

  1. One prototype modeled a manual flow for posting auto parts for sale.
  2. The second prototype was a semi-automated flow, that leveraged part data managed by eBay. With the data, sellers could more easily match parts and not need to fill in as many details.

Each prototype was built for desktop and smartphone; using the tool InVision. Participants were recruited who regularly sell motor parts as a hobby, and tested both in Pennsylvania and California.

Findings Underscored Simplfy, Simplify

Broad, the findings touched on several different areas of improvement; some are detailed below:

  • Better Messaging: While users delighted in the power of the semi-automated flow, few understood where the data was coming from. Once they understood, they wanted clearer messaging.
  • Simplify. Simplify: For listing items, participants collectively called out ways to consolidate the information so that what was most important was elevated.
  • Larger Touch Targets: In spite of touch targets designed for the prescriptive size based on the original 40px x 40px, men struggled to accurately select targets.

Prior to development, the prototypes were modified, saving weeks of development time, and thereby narrowing the “cone of uncertainty.” The Motors team expects to see a lift in the number of items posted for sale, as a result.

“I just wanted to thank you again for all your hard work on this study – the detailed readouts were excellent!  We've made some major improvements to the experience and couldn't have done it without your support.”

– Joe C, Sr Designer

“Excited to see how people respond to these changes; we expect a lift after implementation.”

– Rita B, Sr Product Manager

UX Insights: Two take aways emerged out of this experience: first, the necessity of building truly interactive prototypes (such as Axure, or Material Lite Design), instead of merely click through prototypes. Because InVision was unfortunately a click through prototype, every change that needed to be made during each iteration, translated into updating 20+ pages. Conversely a singular change in Axure, or another html prototype would have necessitated just one update. Clearly Axure / HTML prototyping won for scalability. The second insight was redesigning for larger touch targets: our baseline, established by Apple is too small, because it fails to take into account thumbs. The prevalence of mobile phones held and manuveured by thumbs is largely overlooked, and under researched. More…


  • About eBay: Among the top 10 of global retail brands, eBay's mission is to be the world’s favorite destination for discovering great value and unique selection.
  • Process:Iterative Prototype Testing
  • Skills: Research, UX Architecture
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