I spent 6 years working on the eBay App for Android in a variety of roles including QE, Copywriting, Project Management, Product Management and Product Design. Here's a historical look back through the evolution of the product and the platform from the earliest days of the platform v1.0 (2010) to v5.0 (2016).
The home screen began as a dashboard of destinations. Mobile relied on non-optimized apis with limited functionality.
This release added access to Daily deals and Messages to the home screen
Updated iconography and aligned button styles to platform standard.
Added a persistent native search bar and barcode scanner to the header.
Look at you in your new shoes! Here we updated iconography, and moved to a list-view navigation as was common at the time. Compared to v1.3, the majority of the previous buttons were consolidated into "My eBay" freeing up hierarchical space for more variance and breadth of experience. Added Saved searches, the ability to sell via the app, and a profile destination.
We've got to do something about this "sign out" button. It used to be important to provide easy access as mobile security was a much larger concern at this point.
Added visually distinctive top navigation, access to "Favorite sellers" and "Reminders," and updated iconography, minimizing the logo. Apps were beginning to trend down in over-branding at this point. The list view's styling was updated (very early iPhone) and we began grouping similar destinations together. We added in-app badging to indicate unread status, significantly increasing return visits.
Your profile, along with "Sign out" was now accessible by tapping the username in the upper right.
This release finally got settings, along with the ability to toggle individual notification preferences! Added a Buyer protection badge as a trust indicator, which launched an in-app webview with more details.
Flat white, finally. Updated list view and iconography and allowed the whole thing to breathe a bit more.
Android at this point had deemed the right-facing caret a non-platform pattern, so we removed those from each cell with no adverse effects to usability, engagement or user comprehension.
This release was a big deal for many reasons, including a bug which may have brought down eBay servers for 11 hours in peak season...
We added "Motors," a complete vertical experience for motor heads. The logo and search bar moved up to the header. Search instances dropped slightly, but picked back up after users got accustomed to its new location.
Categories moved down into the list view which also proved to be a poor decision based on user feedback. We got our first color icon (Deals), and as we began adding support for more sited countries, we allowed users to toggle between them to browse items worldwide. This is actualyl a huge use case for coiuntries who want items that aren't available where they live.
Look a new eBay logo! Also added a placement for dynamic eBay promotions, powered by a configurable backend.
We added support for Cart, updated the style guide with a new color palette and cell design. The "Search box" in the header was replaced with a search icon. Since searching is core to the eBay experience, minimizing search's presence in the header resulted in a 23% drop in search sessions. It took us a while to see the results.
The flag icon replaced v2.1's text indicator for what site you're browsing. This was also the first release with tablet layout support.
Fixed the search issue by adding a big white button on the home screen. Anywhere else you were in the app, search was accessible via an icon in the header. We added an overflow menu to the header for global access to secondary functions like "refresh" and "sign out." A recently viewed items carousel was the first step towards actual content on the home screen.
Added a link to a mobile-web version of "My Feed" which served you item suggestions based on the items and sellers you've saved.
Note: I skipped v2.4 because there were no home screen changes in that release.
A splash of color below the fold, moved profile access to the bottom of the screen (which outraged our very engaged user base who liked to come back to the app multiple times daily to review any new feedback.)
So happy to move to a light grey header leading to a 46% increase in my general optimism.
This was the release where we finally made a strong enough argument to move Categories back to the blue core-destination buttons. "Reminders" was replaced with "Notifications" accessible via the bell icon in the header.
Note: I skipped v2.7 & 2.8 because there were no home screen changes in that release.
eBay and PayPal split, requiring a big legal banner indicating our new user agreement.
Our first attempt at a completely content-forward experience, and also an attempt at direct alignment between iOS and Android. While the release did contain many deeply compelling improvements, a lack of an onboarding experience left users to fend for themselves in the new design. The sort of half/half nature of the navigational system where we'd combined standards into a single system proved to be quite confusing to both iOS and Android users. The content lacked personalization and relevancy so it came across as noise. The next iteration would streamline back into what matters most to you, while providing hooks into browsing paths.
This release was a gigantic leap forward in unification and collaboration across the organization but more importantly it was a huge learning opportunity.
The Android app finally looked and felt like an Android app. Bold color and a higher focus on relevance and immediacy in the home screen content. More material design was introduced, as well as a much more Google-inspired navigation drawer. The blue "pills" provide shortcuts to your most frequented destinations. This becomes a scrolling carousel as it grows beyond the boundaries of the visible space.
So happy to see a return to bold color choices. Promotional shot for the Google Play store.