Renovating 10,000 stores

Katie for Zibbet

Zibbet is an e-commerce website powered by an indie community of artists and makers. It is both a platform which allows anyone to set up an online store easily and a shopping destination for unique handmade items.

Since launching in 2009, Zibbet has reached a point where it needed a complete overhaul to cater to its growing user base. I worked closely with Jonathan Peacock, the co-founder and CEO of the company to design website UI and interactions. The site will be launched early June, 2014.

Get to know the community

To kick off the design process I got to know sellers. It was imperative for me to know who they are and how I can better them. I want to be able to point to someone when I make a design decision.

I looked at over 30 independent seller and their shops to get an idea of what they're selling, what they’ve chose to feature, how they write about themselves, quality of product, photography etc. I learnt they are passionate, 'mum-and-pop' shops, crafters, makers and tinkerers who gets pure joy out of making things with their hands. One thing for sure is they’re damn proud of what they make.

Zibbet's sellers are not interested in dealing with code and complicated e-commerce systems. They just want a simple way to set up an online store and start selling their products to the world straightaway.

Zibbet champions independent makers. We speak like a normal person. No robotic jargons. No utilitarian boringness.

Zibbet's own design language

The design needed to have the capacity to grow with the company. In order to achieve that goal, I focused on creating a consistent design language and scalable content modules that can be repurposed.

Homepage: enabling exploration

The marketing site is the first page you see when visit Zibbet. It has to serve many purposes and only one; depending on who you are. I took the opportunity to use job stories to help us investigate possible user goals.

When I’m on the homepage, I want to:

  1. Understand what this site does, so that I can decide whether it's what interests me.
  2. See inspirational products, so that I can start the hunting down a present for Claire.
  3. Know that the site is legit, so I don’t get scammed.
  4. Be able to open a store of my own, so I can start selling my baby wool jumpers.

As you can see there are many mindsets. However, we distilled into one critical point – exploration.

Exploration is the common thread. If we can get users to start exploring they will be able to get familiar, excited and sense immediate value of being on the site. Once users see the value which Zibbet can provide, setting up a shop would be more likely.

This is why the front page isn't a sign up form or push marketing messaging or call-out buttons. It's a gallery of beautiful images to evoke curiosity and themed items to get the visitor to start exploring based on their interests.

Balancing brand and Sellers' personalities

Zibbet sellers are part of a vibrant centralized online marketplace with a constant traffic of shoppers. It’s one of the main reasons why they’re chose Zibbet over creating their own online stores.

However, being part of marketplace can also mean sellers personalities can get lost. As the designer, the challenge is to balance expression of sellers' individual brand with Zibbet's own branding and UI.

Seller's shop front

A shop is designed to enable seller's to express their personality. Their brand banner holds the shop together on the top supporting the shop navigation. Seller's products are front and centre.

Chronological Reviews

Zibbet's seller reviews are designed to indicate visually the current streak of positive, neutral and negative reviews. As a brand new visitor to a shop you can see at first glance how the seller is fairing.

It's a different spin towards to the typical 'most popular' or 'highest rated' aspect of reviews. What I hope to achieve here is show the latest information and give potential buyers the best estimation of service they can expect from this particular seller.

Analytics: determine the future

Zibbet's inventory management system has a feature called 'Reports'. It's the heartbeat of the store's performance. It lets seller know what visitors are looking at compared to actual sales.

The goal is to help sellers make decisions which items they should invest their time. To encourage micro-improvements, such as better descriptions, images, more variations. We want to help sellers know what to make next.


Zibbet is on the homestretch of finishing the complete re-design. I'm working part-time on the project providing additional support for communication design and item management system for sellers. It's moving along smoothly. The site will re-launch with the complete face-lift at the start of June, 2014. The team at Zibbet and I are very excited. So, stay tuned!