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  • Writer's pictureJia Jie Jon

Carousell Design Challenge

Updated: Sep 20, 2021

As part of the interview process, I was tasked to complete a design challenge by Carousell in 48 hours. Here, I will share the process of how I approach the design challenge and my learnings. They have agreed to sponsor this design challenge for my portfolio. So, let's go!



Challenge Brief

Carousell has a group of power sellers who sell for profits. They have many listings and use Carousell for their side or full-time businesses. They also pay Carousell for specific tools, like Bumps, Spotlights, and Profile Promotion, to increase their visibility and sales on the marketplace. So...

How might we improve their experience selling on our platform?



the Problem

This is what I do whenever I approach a problem, I call it the "brain dumping session". I will start by listing down...

  • What do I know about the problem space?

  • What are my assumptions?

  • What are the things that I do not know and have to find out during the user research?

There isn't a right or wrong way to do this. Just go to your MIRO board and start throwing down everything you thought of.

Mine was way messier than this but for the purpose of ✨readability✨. I made it neater for you guys but you don't usually do this, trust me.

While I was doing that, I also thought about the various factors that would contribute to a good selling experience. Of course, I was being mindful of not jumping into solutioning.


Planning for

the User Interviews

Setting the Interview Context

What’s the purpose of the interview?

  • To understand the existing power sellers' selling experience and their pain points.

The interview should help me find out:

  • How are the sellers using the platform?

  • What challenges do they face?

  • The factors contributing to a good selling experience

Selecting the Candidates

Coming up with a list of criteria to select the suitable participants

  • Find participants who fit the power seller profile

  • Sell things on Carousell regularly

  • Avoid recruiting anyone who is working in a product/design team

Unfortunately, it wasn't easy to find power sellers, or at least they aren't common in my circle of friends. In the end, I was only able to recruit 1 power seller and 5 regular sellers.

I decided to interview these participants anyway, so I could still at least understand the generic selling experience on Carousell. Well, I do acknowledge that this could skew the research result, and I could have gone out of scope. However, you know... time wasn't really on my side.

While I know that the regular seller's profile is not ideal, I also believe that their feedback will still be valuable and would provide some insights that I do not have.

(Anyway... about the third point. From my past experience, designers or anyone who worked in the product team tends to comment more on the practicality of certain feature/UI issues which wasn't exactly my focus then. I was focusing on finding out the experience)

Drafting the interview questions

1. How often do you sell on Carousell?

2. Can you share with me what a typical selling process on Carousell is like? Do you encounter any problems in any of the steps?

3. Can you give an example of a good experience when selling your items on Carousell?

4. What about a bad experience?

5. As a seller. What matters the most to you?

6. What does a good selling experience mean to you?

7. Are you aware of the bump and spotlight feature? Have you used them before? Why or Why not?

8. What do you think about the review feature?

9. What do you feel about communicating with the customers through the chat feature?

10. Do you have anything else you want to share?


Synthesizing the Interview Findings

After categorizing the related findings into clusters, I tied the findings back to my research objective.

What exactly does it mean to have a good selling experience?

4 out of the 6 participants mentioned that being able to make quick and successful sales means it's a good selling experience for them. For example, when the buyer immediately agrees and makes the payment or when the item is sold shortly after being listed.

What might help them to make quick and successful sales?

Based on the interview responses, sellers are generally concerned about two things - visibility of their listings and reviews. They think that these are the two key factors that will increase the rate of sales.

I then asked the participants why aren't they paying for the bump and spotlight feature if they think that exposures would help their sales, and these are the reasons:

  • 3 participants said that they want to minimize loss as they are selling the items lower than the original price.

  • The other 2 mentioned that they are not full-time sellers and do not want to invest since their livelihood does not depend on it. However, I’m fully aware that this doesn’t exactly apply to the power seller and may be the typical mindset of the regular seller

  • 1 participant added that he wasn’t able to see the effectiveness of the bump and spotlight feature from the free trial since his item did not get to sell faster

When the participants were asked to give an example of a bad selling experience

  • 4 participants mentioned unresponsive buyers. This could also mean that improving the response rate of the buyers would create a good selling experience for the sellers.

As you can see from the image above, I highlighted the possible areas that I could explore to improve the selling experience.

(At this point, I do realize a problem. Due to my interviewed users' profile, the feedback I have received was concentrated on the generic selling experience rather than the power seller's selling experience...)




Idea 1

How might we ensure buyers are responsive?

Notify buyers when they have gone idle on chats through notification and email


  • To reduce shopping abandonment and remind buyers where they left off


  • Buyers may find Carousell irritating and block off emails and notifications sent by Carousell


Idea 2

How might we increase the visibility and exposure of the listings?

Changing the explore page layout to encourage exploration and increase the visibility of the listings


  • Create more exposure for sellers’ listings on the explore page to improve the rate of sales


  • Creates a pay-to-win mentality which regular sellers might feel disheartened if not done right

  • Regular sellers might feel that their interests are not protected

  • The effectiveness depends on the buyer behavior, some buyers may prefer using the search feature


Idea 3

How might we enforce buyers to give their reviews after a purchase is completed?

Implement more reminders for buyers to leave a review after their purchase


  • Allow seller to receive more reviews > Better credibility > More sales


  • Irritating the buyer with reminders

  • It may not have a direct impact on sales


Idea 4

How might we help buyers gain more confidence in the seller service?

Dividing the buying process into different phases and allow buyers to share their experience when dealing with the seller at every phase


  • Create more transparency on the buying process with the seller

  • Allow seller to gain more credibility -> More sales

  • Allow other buyers to gain more insight and confidence in the seller


  • Giving reviews become a hassle, creating a bad user experience for the buyers



& Proposed Idea

After weighing the pros and cons, I decided to select Idea 2 as my proposed solution.

I decided to explore ways to improve the visibility and exposure of the listings because it helps to...

  • Encourage buyers to explore more listings on the explore page

  • Creating more sales opportunities

This will in turn helps the sellers to make quicker and successful sales.

In order to improve the visibility and exposure of the listings, we need to consider the buyer buying experience. The seller goal of making quick sales is actually intertwined with the buyers buying experience on the app

We need to consider:

  • The buyer perception of a good listing,

  • What would entice the buyers to explore more?

  • Why would they choose to click on a certain listing?

  • What will give the buyer the confidence to find out more about the listing?

So, these are the 3 things I would do:

  • First, Improve the layout on the explore page

  • Second, suggest listings in the search dropdown

  • Lastly, adding review statistics in the listing card

(Again, I do know that this proposed idea was not directly improving the power seller experience, for example like allowing them to set up listing quickly, or providing more statistics to allow their sales to perform better. But, I do not want to contradict with my findings and create something that no one asked for.)



& Explanations

Create ownership and allow users to customize the page to enhance the effect of Investment Loops. (When the user invests in a product more, they are more likely to come back.)


Metrics to

Measure Success

I was asked this question during the interview,

"What successful metrics would I used to learn whether I have succeeded in giving the power sellers a better selling experience?"

And, here they are:



Average time spent on explore page

to measure whether buyers spend more time on the explore page to browse items

The bounce rate of the explore page

to measure how many buyers drop off after only visiting the explore page

Click rate on the First Spotlight item

to measure whether the placement of the featured item is effective

Click rate on the suggested listings in the search dropdown

to measure the success of placing listings in the search dropdown

Number of items sold

to measure whether the new designs did influence sales rate




The users' profile that I interviewed plays a huge part in influencing the outcome of the challenge. It's true that a linear problem-solving process would work much better for this challenge.

However, problems in the real world aren't always this obvious. More often than not, divergent thinking would allow you to dig deeper into the problem space and discover much more.

I also learned that I should improve more on my soft skills, especially when it comes to explaining my chain of thoughts.


All in all, it was a great learning experience. It was a difficult yet rewarding challenge. I had a great time talking to the Carousell team, especially Keith (Head of Product Design) and Felipe (Product Design Manager). They have taught me so much during this period!

And, that's all I have to share. Thank you for reading!

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