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Explore Etsy's experimental side

Jun 18, 2010

by Chad Dickerson

At Etsy, we spend our days and nights working to make Etsy better. A huge part of this involves improving core functionality on the site, like streamlining seller tools and improving the checkout process. Much of the work we do requires significant planning with full teams of people working for extended periods, like as Treasury East. Other times, changes to the site are relatively minor, like changing links on a page. The Etsy engineering team is growing very quickly, and our main goal as a team is to continually make Etsy better. We have lots of improvements to the site that we'll be releasing over the next few months to help us get there. It's a job that is never finished and one we love.

As we build more and more features for the site, we've found that while some things we build are obvious improvements to everyone on Etsy, there are others that emerge in the course of our work that are more experimental. We want to surface some of those to the community. Rather than have those efforts end up on the virtual cutting room floor, we want to share them with you to get your feedback. In that spirit, we're setting up a section of the site for these experiments:

The experiments page will have a short description of each experiment and the name of the person (or people) who made it. You'll be able to leave feedback for the maker on each experiment. In all cases, your use of and participation in these experiments is purely optional, but we're hoping you'll enjoy trying some of them out and letting us know what you think.

By definition, these experiments may not be fully-baked, may have bugs, may have design flaws, and may disappear altogether at any moment. By putting some of them in front of you and getting your feedback even in their rough state, we're hoping we may uncover some new approaches that might be useful in other areas of the site. We may also fall flat at times with our experiments. Like making things in the physical world, sometimes trial and error is the best teacher, so it's a good bet that we'll release some experiments that we'll learn from to make Etsy better.

We're kicking things off with the Explorer from Greg Fodor, one of our esteemed engineers:

Give it a try and let Greg know what you think in the feedback link on the Explorer or in this forums thread!