Let’s make a deal

It makes perfect sense that digital products should try to emulate natural human interactions. Chat is a natural format for negotiating a car sale, and it’s light years beyond the standard email format most vehicle platforms currently employ. During our initial testing of this chat prototype it became clear to the product team that bidding and offering via chat, just felt right. 

Once this feature evolves, I feel the bulk of our users activity may reside within Chat. It’s where relationships are made, trust is earned, and deals close.

Client: Ebay Motors
My Role: Product Designer (UX, UI, Documentation)

Lead Designer: Thai Dang (Lead UX)
Product Owner: Richard Sipe
Project Manager: Jake Martin
Research and User Testing: Amelia Abreau


– Design for User Needs –
Discover & Define

Building a chat interface for
both buyer and sellers

Buyers and sellers have different needs, and often the roles can morph as an enthusiast will sell one project in order to buy another project. In light of this, we needed to create an interface that was fluid and flexible enough to adapt to these shifting mindsets, when a lot of money is at stake and well timed transactions are critical.

Establishing trust and
keeping offers in play

Having observed our users during testing we were mindful of the different challenges they faced as sellers, buyer and maybe both at the same time. Sellers often negotiate with multiple offers on the table and it’s a balancing act to keep one buyer on hold while hoping for another higher offer to come in.

Conversely, buyers had to assess whether they could trust a new seller and was the vehicle really as sound as described in the listing. They needed to establish trust, having never met the seller and a large amount of their money on the line.

Never miss out on another last minute offer during chat

  • Sellers have to monitor multiple bids at once. While chatting with a buyer, they may miss out on a better last minute offer.
  • Our interrupter modal ensures a seller is aware of all highest bids before committing to a final sale.
  • This built in assistance provides a fallback they can trust, so they can better focus on selling to a buyer they trust.

With chat, confirm the vehicle’s
condition before you place a bid

  • Seller and buyers can work together and answer each other’s questions
  • Earn trust with potential buyers by answering their individual question via text, image or video
  • Buyers who trust the seller and are confident in the listing, are more likely to bid
  • As a seller, no longer do you need to link out to YouTube to host a custom video


– Remote User Testing –
Test, Synthesize Feedback and Iterate

– Interaction Design –
Mapping Contextual Scenarios & Edge Cases

– Development Handoff –
Documenting component states for development

Mapping complexity

I suspected a chat app would be a complex feature to build. It wasn’t until I got closer to handoff though, that the number of scenarios and edge cases to document were completely revealed. Many scenarios emerged, and all component state changes needed to be clearly documented to facilitate a faster build time for development.

I ended up documenting the changes across a 4 column layout. With a feature this complex, I believe an exhaustive approach to documentation is essential.


Chat scenarios include:

  • Buyer initiates offer, Waiting on response from Seller
  • Seller counter offers to Buyer
  • Seller declines offer from Buyer
  • Buyer declines offer from Seller
  • Buyer counter offers to Seller
  • Vehicle sold, Pending payment, Next steps
  • Vehicle sold, Deal complete
  • Offer expired, Relist
  • Offer expired, Lost sale to another buyer

– UI Optimization –
Inbox v2. Designed for multiple roles & needs

My Role: Product Design (Lead UX & UI)

A robust inbox designed for your
different needs – as a buyer, seller, or both

  • Tabs partition the user’s content into different mindsets: buyer, seller and reference
  • The sort menu differs in each tab in order to highlight useful contextual info
    based on intention and activity
  • The Reference feature enables you to track, different buyer or sellers and their builds


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