Process Breakdown

This assignment was completed over 4 days, or roughly 24 hours. 

  • Brainstorm 
  • User Studies 
  • Personae Creation 
  • Use Cases 
  • Sketches 
  • Wireframes 
  • High Fidelity Mockup

Guiding Design Principles

Make it Local 

Let’s be honest, garage sales often don’t have items alluring enough to attract buyers from far distances. However, buyers are often willing to visit a garage sale if it is nearby and convenient. By surfacing these ‘Nearby' sales and nudging users to browse sales, the knowledge of nearby garage sales creates new opportunities. 

Nearby Page allows users to search garage sales by their current location surfacing opportunities based on their local convenience. 

Map View - In all search options, a map view is presented. The map view gives users a clear sense of the distances of sales and where clusters of garage sales may exist. 

Nearby Notifications - Whenever a user is within blocks of a garage sale, especially a garage sale with pinned items, a low level notification is sent giving potential buyers a nudge to stop by and find some bargains. 

Give a Peak 

Rather than asking sellers to provide an exhaustive inventory and buyers to browse these long lists, the design strategy gives a peak of what the garage sale has to offer. Minimizing the efforts for both types of users and preserving the thrill of the hunt, the peak gives potential buyers a clear sense of the 1) caliber, 2) taste/aesthetics, and 3) contents of a sale.

Buckets gives sellers the opportunity to group and showcase collections of related items. Instead of listing items individually, buckets give a high level overview of garage contents. Targeting those treasure hunter types, buckets give enough detail to seduce a buyer to continue hunting but skirts the line from showing it all. 

Featured Items give sellers the opportunity to highlight a few hot-ticket items to draw out a crowd. Instead of creating an exhaustive inventory that neither buyer or seller find useful for menial items, featuring a select few items gives buyers a sense of sellers taste preferences and a sense to what other items they might find at the sale. 

About the Owners - Often you are able to get a better sense of the type of items at the garage sale from who the owner is. About the Owners inhabits a small section on the garage sale listing, giving potential buyers a bit more insight to what the sale could offer.


One of the opportunities is to personalize the experience and have an app that is truly smart to the user's needs. A huge pain point of garage sales is the inability to pre-search items remotely and vet garage sales. By creating a more precise and personal experience around garage sales, this app could entice a new demographic of buyers opposite of those treasure hunters, who previously would have not wanted to sort through all the 'junk'. 

Pinning - It is easy to forget items or sales that are of interest. The Pin feature allows users to save all favorite sales and item/buckets in one location. Users would be alerted to pinned upcoming sales as well. 

Create Notifications - If a buyer is looking for an exact item, let's say a leather couch, they can create a notification that would automatically message them if a leather couch within X distance comes up.

Search - While this may be low hanging fruit, crucial to improving garage sale experience is the ability to efficient search for what a user by be looking for. The search feature allows users to search by specific keywords, general categories, locations, and dates. 


Earlier Ideas/Brainstorm: 

  • Video Tagging: One of the earlier ideas was to prioritize video over photo. Inspired by apps like Periscope, sellers would shoot short videos and be able to individually tag all items in video (similar to how one would tag friends on Facebook photos). The tags would be used as meta-data for buyers and the videos would able to provide a condense amount of information in one short video.

  • Donate, Sell, Keep: This was originally an idea to help sellers organize their garage and keep track of their inventory. A huge pain point is deciding what to get rid of vs. what to keep. These lists would help owners decide what to sell and allow sale contributors to add comments remotely. As the project progressed, I moved away from the idea of creating a precise inventory because the effort required did not match the needs from user interviews.

  • Pre-Sales: Pre-sales would allow owners to create general groupings of prices for sale items and pre-sell items like Craigslist or Ebay. During the interview phase, we found this would work against bargain hunters and sometimes sellers themselves. Sellers often have limited high-ticket items to draw crowds to the sale; pre-selling these items could hurt the attendance of the sale. Moreover, in user studies owners indicated they often don’t have a fixed idea of pricing and want to get rid of excess stuff. I translated these findings to having optional pricing tags and ability to enable messaging for potential buyers for sellers interested in organizing prior sales/arrangements. 

User Studies (5 interviews) 

  • 1 Advanced Garage Sale Host
  • 2 Potential Garage Sale Host
  • 3 Garage Sale Buyers

Personae Creation (2 sellers, 2 buyers)

  • Seller 1: Sally is about to remodel her house and needs extra garage space. She needs to get rid of a few furniture items and appliances in storage she no longer needs. Particularly, she has a piece of designer mid century sofa she wants to sell, but it is not in good shape (needs new upholstery and to be refinished). She doesnt know how much it is worth as is, but knows the item has potential to be upwards of $3000. While she isn’t willing to do this herself, she still wants a fair price and to find the right buyer. 

  • Seller 2: Jerry is constantly busy between his two jobs. This weekend he and his brother have made time to help his mother move out of her apartment into a long term care facility. On the top of their to do list is to create an inventory of her garage with decades of items accumulated in it. They have 2 weeks to empty their mom’s house, and need to sell these items as quickly as possible in their busy schedules. The potential to make some extra cash is alluring but so is the potential to get this done on time.  

  • Buyer 1Lotte has just moved to LA for an exciting new job. She has a bunch of basic items she needs for the house (microwave, hangers, pots, lamp, chair and table) but only has one weekend she can dedicate to picking up all items. While the one stop shop of IKEA is alluring to her during this transition, she can’t quite afford to buy all items new. Plus she likes to peruse through garage sales to find special gems she may want but not necessary need. 
  • Buyer 2:  Thomas loves vintage furniture, but isn’t willing to spend the high price tag for it at boutiques. His puppy recently destroyed his IKEA couch and he is seeing it as an opportunity to purchase a new one that is more fitting of his taste. He wants to find the right couch but doesn’t have the patience to stay up to date with craigslist type sites and wants to find something he can easily drive to and pick up. 

Translated User Needs

Seller 1: 

  • Needs to have a way to find the fair price
  • Needs to connect with right buyer
  • Needs to advertise herself as limited upscale items

Seller 2: 

  • Multi-user accounts- Both brothers can add items and edit descriptions doubling their efficiency
  • They need to quickly connect with potential buyers
  • They need be able to do one part on-site and on-part at home. 
  • They need to be able to bundle items together; too many items to individually tag
  • Need to be able to easily categorize items
  • Needs a pre-sale or OBO option to encourage bidding prior to garage sale


  • Set up a list of things she needs
  • Set up a way to track
  • Get a general sense of what the garage sale has to offer
  • Set up way to find all nearby garage sales

Buyer 2: 

  • Set up a specific search with keywords
  • Mapping ability
  • Quick Image searches
  • Non-intrusive notifications for matches


Site Map Creation


Buyer Mode Wireframes


Seller Mode Wireframes

High Resolution Mock up

For the visual design I wanted to stay with a clean and minimal aesthetic. I choose to use many of the material design principles as guidelines to keep my designs rooted within current standards and practices.

Moving from the wireframes, condensed the menu items into a hamburger menu at the left hand corner.


I wanted to showcase a complete experience and decided to stay within mobile application. Mobile applications allowed me to better explore the aspects of locality and immediacy I was interested in. However, desktop screens would be a natural next step to explore. The desktop would be crucial to allowing users to be able to interact more precisely with garage sales. 

Secondly, I easily found users who shop at garage sales but found it more difficult to locate individuals who host sales. I would have loved to garner more perspective on garage sale hosts prior to entering the design phase. Typically I enjoy user testing the design solutions, but in this exercise I had to make some assumptions  based on overall themes I heard during the interviews and run with it. 

There remains many areas of opportunities I would have loved to further explore, such as creating friend networks, smart recommendations, and countless small micro-interactions that makes for a great UX experience. Particularly I felt the inventory page had more potential to be further explored with deeper interactions and additional information like descriptions, photos, and notifications.

Overall, I found this exercise to be very interesting and challenging. I wanted to empower current garage treasure hunters to have more success but also bring in a new demographic of users. It was a productive and fun weekend! Thanks so much for taking the time to review this work, and hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.