I am happy to present our first two-month roadmap. Our goal is to give everyone better insight into what we’re building. We’ll release four more roadmaps in 2010: May 1, July 1, September 1, and November 1.
In lieu of fine print at the end, here are some caveats up front.
- We’re sharing things we are confident we can complete inside the next two months. We won’t include precise dates for specific features in the roadmap.
- There are things we’re working on that aren’t on the list. This can be for two reasons: to retain an element of surprise, or because a project is large and long, and while we’re working on it full time right now, it won’t be ready until later.
- Many times we’ll show a preview of a feature before it launches, to get your feedback and input. We’re building the framework to make this happen (A/B testing and a place to see works in progress).
- This document is not meant to provide the details about a new feature. Such details will be presented via dedicated blog and Forum posts. So, please view this as a table of contents.
Okay, on to the matter at hand.
Starting today, we’re taking the first steps towards widening the site and cleaning up the design. This project will touch every single page on Etsy.
The very first step is to make a header that works at both 760px (the current width) and 980px (the wider site we’re moving towards). This is the header that we just released, which you can read more about and discuss in this Forum thread. There aren’t any 980px wide pages yet — these are on their way.
Our general goal when first widening a page is to tweak the design, while keeping the functionality largely the same. Why? Well, there’s a lot more to widening a page than meets the eye. For example, we’re properly templating the pages and getting them ready to work in multiple languages.
Improving how things work will come quickly on the heels of making everything wider. Feel free to discuss the changes to the Etsy header in this Forum thread.
As I mentioned in a previous blog post, we’re going to require payment for an item before marking it as sold on Etsy. To do this, we’re migrating to a new payments platform at PayPal called Express Checkout (EC).
The biggest change is that a buyer will go to PayPal and authorize the payment, then come back to Etsy in order to actually complete the transaction. For more info, see this flowchart on PayPal’s info page.
If you shop on other sites with PayPal, you’re probably used to this, because it’s how most other sites do it.
Our ideal Checkout is to have a single payment cover all purchases, even those from multiple sellers. This is on the horizon, as PayPal readies their split payments feature for Express Checkout.
We’re going to improve how flagging works, and allow for the flagging of shops. This is part of our overall mission to better handle shops in violation of our terms of service.
We’re in the process of doubling the size of our Support team, from 10 to 20 people. We are getting the first five folks situated and will be hiring another five shortly. Our goal is to have enough people such that all emails can be answered within two hours.
We’ll also begin to offer real-time support: first via online chat, and then on the phone. Phone support will likely be just beyond the next two months, in June. You’ll be hearing much more about this shortly.
We’re rebuilding the Treasury outside of Flash, which means everyone will be able to have their own Treasury list. This feature will first launch in a beta called Treasury East. After we get feedback on this, we’ll work towards replacing the main Treasury.
We hope to reuse the backend infrastructure for the Treasury to provide a number of improvements anywhere there’s a list of items: your Favorites, purchases, sales, etc. All of these lists should be sortable (for example, within folders) and searchable. The timing of these improvements depends on our progress with the Lists’ infrastructure, which begins with the Treasury.
We have heaps of data about what people like on Etsy. We’re analyzing this to help buyers discover other things they might like. Our first effort on this front will be a Suggestions tab, added to the Favorites section of Your Etsy.
Once this functionality is coupled with Lists we can start to move away from Admin-curated home pages, as well as surface items and Lists we think you’ll like on a personalized home page.
A cookie is a small token we place on your browser that remembers who you are on Etsy. Previously, every time you closed your browser, you’d have to sign back in again the next time you visited Etsy.
We recently improved this, allowing people to stay signed in for a single day. We’re taking this one step further, so that you’ll be able to stay signed in for a longer period of time. Important (and more secure) site features — like viewing billing information or changing your password — will require re-authentication.
One nice long-term benefit of this is a personalized home page. You’ll notice that on other sites like Amazon, they remember who you are for the sake of suggesting items. When you go to check out, they ask you to sign in again.
We’re speeding up search: both the time it takes to return results, and the time it takes to index the items. (An item needs to be indexed before it will show up in search results.)
We’ll be posting our observations on the Relevancy Thursday tests we performed last month and talking with everyone about possible next steps. We’re going to proceed a bit cautiously here, since it has such a strong impact on the buying experience.
We’re adding OAuth to our API. This is a big step forward for us, and it’s the premise for hundreds of huge improvements to Etsy. Why? Because it empowers outside developers to build more powerful apps — apps that can write data to Etsy.
Initially, we will support an Add to Favorites method, available for interested beta testers. This means you’ll be able to heart an item from inside an external app, without having to visit Etsy. (This will be similar to how this works on Flickr: you’ll have to give such an app explicit permission to access your Favorites before it can do anything.)
This initial method will be followed by many others: Add to Cart, View Purchases, View Sales, and so forth. (These will likely be added in the next roadmap cycle.)
We’re devoting a lot of resources to improving the seller experience on Etsy. These projects are all labor intensive, and fall beyond the two-month window of this particular roadmap.
Likewise for currency conversion, language translation, and other localization efforts aimed at making Etsy a truly international marketplace.
We’ll be talking more about these things soon, we promise. I know that many people reading this are primarily interested in tools for selling, and we’ve got a lot of room for improvement here.
We’ll post updates during the next couple months, to keep everyone abreast of our progress. Please keep in mind this is our first public roadmap, and as such, this roadmap itself will be improved upon. For one, we want to show who is working on what, inside of Etsy. If you have ideas for how we can make it better, we’re all ears.