Stanley Gibbons and Baldwin's, renowned leaders in philately and numismatics, sought to revolutionise their existing auction house platform. They wanted to accommodate the evolving needs of both traditional stamp and coin collectors, as well as serve new customer demographics, including trading card collectors and in the near future sports memorabilia collectors.
Design Lead, Product Lead, 6 Engineers
July 2023 - December 2023
Figma, Figjam, Braintree, Notion, Linear,
The existing website faced several challenges that hindered user engagement and failed to provide an inclusive and user-friendly experience for the diverse range of collectors. The objective was to enhance the user experience, while maintaining a seamless and efficient platform for both buyers and sellers.
In the discovery phase, we conducted user and competitor research. This comprehensive approach provided insights into the diverse needs of collectors and industry trends. The findings guided our design strategy for creating an inclusive and improved auction platform.
Moving into the concept phase, we translated research insights into tangible elements. The information architecture and userflows were all thought out to create an optimised user experience. Branding efforts modernised the visual identity, creating a cohesive design. The shift from wireframes to high-fidelity screens allowed refinement based on stakeholder feedback, aligning the design with the brand's vision and user expectations.
The build phase marked the transition from design to implementation, collaborating closely with engineers. Through iterative development, we refined the user interface for optimal performance and responsiveness. A user-centered approach guided collaboration with the engineering team, addressing technical constraints and ensuring the successful integration of design and functionality.
Initial market research
We conducted extensive online research to gain a comprehensive understanding of collector communities. This involved scouring existing articles, forums, and community platforms related to philately, numismatics, and trading card collecting. This was a great starting block, from which we identified the main gaps in our knowledge which we wished to address in our user interviews. Through our initial research we identified:
Collectors exhibit a higher level of education, possess larger financial resources, and tend to be male and older.
Personality traits include high openness, low neuroticism, and high conscientiousness.
As collections mature, collectors focus on niche interests, contrasting with the broad spectrum at the start.
While profit isn't the primary motivator, most collectors believe their items will appreciate over time.
Collectors exhibit a level of addiction, forgoing spending in other areas to acquire specific items, reducing spontaneity.
Passion and sentimentality are prevalent, with collections often tied to memories or individuals.
For our existing coin and stamp customers, we conducted in-depth user interviews. These interviews provided valuable insights into the behaviors, preferences, and pain points of the different type of collectors, helping us identify areas for improvement. Additionally, to reach card collectors, we leveraged UserBrain, facilitating interviews with individuals passionate about trading cards. Once we have gathered all this information, we split our collectors into relevant categories.
Based on the insights gathered from user interviews, we developed detailed user personas that served as archetypal representations of our target audiences. Each persona encapsulated the unique characteristics, motivations, and challenges of different collector segments, including philatelists, numismatists, and trading card enthusiasts. These personas became instrumental in guiding design decisions, ensuring that the auction house platform catered to the specific needs and preferences of each user type.
Identifying common expectations across distinct user groups proved pivotal in shaping our design strategy and offering. By pinpointing shared elements, our UX solution transcends individual differences, ensuring a seamless and inclusive experience for all.
Items are exactly as described (authenticity & condition) and it’s the auction house’s responsibility
Transparency into the auction processes, pricing, shipping and bidding.
The tech just works - it’s easy to sign up, easy to bid, easy to pay and no technical issues along the way.
Impartial advice about the timing of the sale
Realistic reserve/ estimate prices
Relevant target audience and good following
The tech just works - it’s easy to sign up, easy to pay and no technical issues along the way.
In the user journey phase, we created comprehensive visual narratives for both buyers and sellers. Informed by user interviews and online research, these journeys mapped the entire experience—from discovering the platform to completing transactions. By detailing the steps, actions, and what the user would be looking for at each stage, the user journeys provided a holistic understanding of interactions.
We translated the journey maps into tangible design elements by drawing wireframes for key user flows. These wireframes served as skeletal outlines, detailing the structural layout and interactions of the auction house platform. Focused on simplicity and clarity, the wireframes provided a visual representation of the optimised user pathways, ensuring that essential features and information were strategically placed.
Crafting a Distinctive Brand Identity
After thorough consideration, the chosen path involved retaining Baldwin's original primary green, a decision rooted in the brand's heritage and recognition. However, the key evolution lay in infusing a clean, modern, neutral, and welcoming feel into this established color palette. This approach aimed to honor tradition while embracing a forward-thinking and inclusive aesthetic. The final brand identity not only reflected the auction house's legacy but also communicated a contemporary and approachable vibe.
Moreover, the brand redesign played a pivotal role in simplifying the user experience (UX). By adopting a modern and neutral design language, we created a clutter-free interface that strategically left ample space for showcasing high-quality images of collectibles. Central to this brand identity was the underlying ethos—to reflect the joy that collectors derive from their pursuits.
Our journey towards defining the brand identity for the auction house began with collaborative workshops involving key stakeholders from marketing, content, and product teams. These sessions served as a platform to establish a cohesive tone of voice and visual identity that would resonate with our diverse audience. Armed with insights from these workshops, we embarked on presenting multiple branding options to key decision-makers.
High Fidelity Wireframes
By infusing the chosen brand colors, typography, and visual elements, the high-fidelity screens embodied the clean, modern, and welcoming feel we aimed to convey. Every detail, from the layout of navigation elements to the presentation of collectibles, was thoughtfully designed to resonate with collectors and offer an intuitive and visually appealing interface.
Navigating limitations through design and engineering collaboration
The project unfolded against the backdrop of constraints imposed by a third-party tech provider, necessitating a seamless collaboration between engineering and design. Design decisions were intricately tied to the boundaries defined by the third party. As constraints were encountered, the collaboration served as a dynamic problem-solving mechanism, ensuring that design aspirations were met within the constraints dictated by the third-party technology. It was essential to harmonise design and engineering efforts to deliver a cohesive and effective auction house platform despite external limitations.
Streamlining development with a design system
In response to the complexities of the project and the short build time, the need for efficient development was a must, so a comprehensive design system was created. This design system served as a unified repository of standardised components and guidelines fostering a harmonised and consistent user interface across the entire auction house platform.
The design system played a pivotal role in expediting the development process. By providing a modular and reusable library of components, our engineering team could seamlessly implement design elements, reducing redundancy and ensuring a cohesive user experience.
The client's experience
"I would recommend her in a heartbeat."
Harriet is a brilliant product designer, she is skilled in product discovery and also UX and UI. Harriet is pro-active and solution-oriented, she is flexible and will always make it work, whatever problem at hand. She's a great team player - use to juggling a large number of stakeholders and also is praised by engineers as great to work with. I would recommend her in a heartbeat.
Product Director @ Stanley Gibbons
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