DotTot is a website to enable parents to put no-longer-used children's things to good use with new families and away from landfill
Overall, I want to help parents take control of their buying power. Our society generally pushes us to buy and buy and with such a high cost to raise children nowadays, it would be ideal to create an outlet for parents to earn some money back and save some money when purchasing. It would also help the envioronment and reduce waste and plastic.
I started my research by finding similar apps and websites and did a UX analysis and a SWOT analysis. I found 3 similar website/apps that potentially have similar ideas and goals in mind.
Strengths:Currently a strong brand, easy use of website and app interface, strong security measures, and strong customer base
Weaknesses:They aren't creating something we don't already have. There are other websites such as craigslist that was created first. There is a learning curve to learning how to navigate their website and app.
Opportunities:Technological innovation with their website and app. Possibly going global in the future.
Threats:High competition. Possible brand can be defamed if security becomes an issue.
Strengths:Strong customer base, pretty user interface, clean, ease of use both on website and app
Weaknesses:There is a learning curve to using their app and website. It is not technically a location based app. You are not looking for anything "local" but mainly buying something that is to be shipped to you. Not something you can just go pick up immediately.
Opportunities:Technological innovation with their website and app.
Threats:High competition with other apps like mercari and poshmark.
Strengths:Easy to use. Just post a picture and have them pick up at your porch. Ease of communication.
Weaknesses:It is not a standalone app or website. It is a private group within facebook that you have to find yourself. So it's not very easy to find. It is also focused on a very tight local radius. So you cannot see items for neighboring cities.
Opportunities:It could become a standalone app or website
Threats:Security. There is no security. You pick up at your own risk and deal with users at your own risk. There is no reviews or accountability.
There isn't a direct competitor that is like DotTot. Yes, there are apps that help you donate or sell. Yes, there are apps specifically to buy/sell used childrens clothing. But there is no app that is a buy/sell app for children's items - not just clothes, but also toys and other items.
The important thing is to make it easy to use and have a strong security in place for transactions.
Before finalizing anything, I decided to do user testing on 10 users in order to gain feedback which would allow me to make improvements to my web app.
As mentioned, I initially had the idea of doing a purely donation app. But after doing some user testing, there was a lot of confusion about the coin system I had in place. I realized that the coin system would need to be explained somehow and refined further but it may not be necessary. I decided to simplify it and make it a monetary transaction. Based on the previous user research as well as user testing, it just solidified the fact that the web app needed to be tweaked into a monetary transaction.
All of the users really liked the communication feature in order to meet up. They loved the idea of a safe community meet up spot as an option. The location pin was also very helpful they said.
Also, having the option to review was important because they felt safer to do a transaction if the user had a lot of reviews.
The main thing I learned from this project was that I realized my initial ideas can always grow and evolve as I continue my testing and research and design process. I initially wanted this to be a donation app. But after doing some analysis and research, I found it to be quite difficult in logistics and figuring out a way to encourage users to use the app and donate quality items. Because if users do not donate quality items, the app would definitely fail since users would not be receiving quality items. So I changed my initial idea and made it monetary and realized users truly value money even more so. It helped to revise my initial idea based on interviewing potential users and designing the app itself.
I also learned that researching competitors is very important. Competitors doesn't have to be another direct competition like another mobile app. It can be almost anything such as a facebook group as shown above. But knowing and learning about your competition can help improve your design and learn more about your user and their needs.
Also, this particular user story was mainly focused on a user who is searching for an item and purchasing an item. I would definitely do more further user testing for the user story of posting an item. It is equality important to make sure that process is seamless and easy for the user.
Overall, I am really proud of my design. I felt that I truly heard my users and learned what their needs and wants are and truly focused on meeting them. I always kept the users needs in mind when designing the app. Being a parent myself, also helped because I could relate to my users. I love the idea to create a strong community within a community with this app. For example, I want this app to be the go-to app that parents use to shop for used items but also an app that may foster local meetups to encourage parents to meet other parents to help one another even more. That old saying "It takes a village to help raise a child" is true and it would be ideal to use this app as a means to further help parents in many other ways. So having the option of local meetups, maybe a local "yard sale", maybe a way to add a friend, etc. The ideas are endless and it would be nice to slowly build upon this idea in the future.
It truly is a good feeling to create a product that would help users in their everyday life!