A Panoramic Image-based Approach to Buying and Selling Secondhand Goods Online
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The purpose of this project was to investigate and propose a solution to gaps identified in existing paradigms for buying and selling secondhand goods online. Through a review of existing literature, the secondhand market was explored together with the variety of reasons for individuals’ participation. Different modes of collaborative consumption and some of the challenges unique to peer-to-peer markets were also examined. A computational approach to identifying items and actions within digital media was reviewed in support of the proposed solution. Research discoveries uncovered through directional surveys, semi-structured interviews, and an analysis of peer products were summarized. These discoveries were consolidated into a list of requirements, including 1) being able to sell many items at once, 2) disbursing items quickly and with minimal effort, 3) making lower value items worth selling, 4) establishing and maintaining trust by designing for safety and encouraging quality, and 5) reducing the need for communication between buyers and sellers by managing the sale, condition, and inventory status. After multiple rounds of concept development, a principal direction based upon the “make me move” concept in the real estate industry was selected. Combined with panoramic images, the resulting solution relied on computer-driven tagging of items for sale. This allowed many items to be listed at once through a single image while making it possible for buyers to find and place offers. Offers were suggested in lieu of bids or an immediate checkout process to avoid some of the negative, bid-related behaviors and minimize the communication required to complete a sale. An interactive prototype was created to evaluate the concept and usability via online user testing, which included surveys and cognitive walkthroughs. The results were analyzed and prioritized to refine the final details of the solution. Overall, I demonstrated a unique concept for buying and selling secondhand goods which supports selling many items, efficiently and safely, while eliminating much of the back and forth communication required to facilitate transactions on many existing platforms.