Buy Vintage! Sustainable Fashion! There are so many reasons to love Depop; its unique items, its committed sellers, and its amazingly edgy attitude all attract the hardest market to hit. mil·len·nials. It’s not hard to wonder how Depop has amassed such a dedicated following.

I fell in love with Depop this summer, but, as a buyer, I still found that my friends and I would pile up potential purchases but never go through with them. I set out this fall to find out why.

To Spend or not To Spend?

User Research

I tried to get a wide, diverse range of Depop users, interviewing different types of users about their pain points, likes, and dislikes. After, I summarized my findings and grouped them by similarity.

affinity diagram organizing my user research

There were some pain points that conflicted with each other, but something that was consistent between the users I interviewed was the they used to search and buy an item.

They didn’t explicitly list their processes as a pain, because in the end, the same result was accomplished and they still bought the item. But to me, it seemed like they got there because they were able to “hack” the system.

Here are some key insights:

People are so eager to see new content and find new items they want, but when it comes to actually committing to that item, they’re not as eager. This is because Depop makes this process time-consuming; there is no way to compare items without viewing each individually. And it takes away from time they could be enjoying the app browsing, finding new content, or making a purchase.

Making Decisions is Tough

I thought the problem space lied within the browsing/searching phase, but it actually lied within the choosing/comparing phase.

Depop Buying Process Journey Map

Depop is always pushing new, unique items at each touchpoint for users to buy, but the step right before actually making a purchase, choosing and comparing, takes time and drags the buying process on. You spend an unreasonable amount of time in this stage and most of it is spent clicking between items trying to remember details of each. This interrupts your previously fluid process and pushes the process to a halt. It seems like a buying an item is more of a switch, instead of a flow.

The Problem

When users are trying to find and buy and item, they can’t do that well because it takes time determining which item is the best value. As a result, the users become frustrated with the buying process and spend time away from what they want to do.

Existing Solution

This is the current buying process on Depop.

  • Users tend to save all of their “potential” buys and go through each item individually, looking at details that they care about before buying.
  • It is time consuming to go back and forth saved items, forgetting details of some items while remembering details of others, and having no clear system of sorting through items.

Taking a chill pill, your honor: (things to consider moving forward)

  • How can users get to actually buying an item in a more efficient way?

I Feel a [Brain]storm Coming…

I brainstormed the best way to streamline the buying process with my buddies Shoshana Swell, Caley Drooff and Cedric Castillo.

Solutions to explore more:

  • Share items with friends
  • In-app comparing tool
  • Saving to a collection
  • Categorize by type in saved
Feasibility Matrix on solutions found in brainstorm

Taking a chill pill, your honor: (things to consider moving forward)

  • A lot of shopping apps create a “cart” or “saved” list for shoppers to put potential items into, but Depop has unique sellers, so a cart wouldn’t have made sense
  • One of the biggest considerations I had when entering this process was keeping Depop’s integrity and “human” quality. I definitely didn’t want to turn Depop too commercial, because that’s not what it stands for.
  • How can you ease the buying process without sacrificing what makes Depop so unique?

Explorations — So! Many! Touch Points!

Search Options

  • many users responded positively to A, although B was helpful, users were indifferent to A’s one extra step. A was chosen to ease any confusion about how to save and to simplify the saving process.

Saved Options

  • between A and B users were more inclined towards A, but noted that their racks could build up over time. C was iterated and chosen as a happy medium.

Saved Page Options

  • Many thought A although consistent with Depop, felt too cramped. Upon feedback, I iterated B and C. I chose C because the content hierarchy was clear, this type of box has been seen by Depop users before, and the entire box acted as an entry point to the rack.

Sorting Options

  • A and B were iterated before the final Saved Page was chosen, so C made the most sense, kept it clean and simple, and was consistent with Depop’s current model.

Something’s missing…

Something didn’t feel right because I felt as though there should be something more for the user to properly make their decision. And in order to make their decision, they needed more information. Out of the three iterations, C was chosen because it was non-disruptive but still able to provide the user with sufficient information.

Visual Hiccups

  • The red notification is Depop’s current notification model. However, people reacted negatively to the red notification because they thought they had done something wrong. I continued to iterate and mellow out the notification until the black with white text was decided upon.


There were some considerations going into choosing language.

  • “Collections” and “saved” didn’t feel like Depop’s brand, so I went with “rack”. It plays off of the idea of personalization and humanization.
  • I chose to change the language of the sorting parameters in the racks because price needed to be more heavily emphasized. This is because there are different sorting needs when a user is in choosing phase than when a user is in browsing phase.

High Fidelity Flow

Break it down!

Search Phase to Choose Phase
Another Entry Point to Choose Phase
From Choose Phase to Buy Phase

High Fidelity Prototype


If you asked me when I first discovered Depop if there was anything I wanted to change about it, I would’ve laughed in your face. 😆 This app was something so refreshing and down-to-earth, I felt like anything too drastic would take away from it’s unique human quality. But going forward with this , I realized that there will always be chances for an app to better itself. Even if something doesn’t seem like a blatant problem, doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities for improvement.

Moving forward, I realized the depth of the problem I was trying to tackle. The main consequence is time wasted, and time wasted in the choosing phase takes away from other more enjoyable parts. As tiresome experiences build up over time, annoyance grows and tolerance lowers. In the end, users might not buy the item at all. I hope my solution can alleviate some of this problem and allow Depop to continue being that special little app living at the corner of everyone’s phone.

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