Etsy’s Pattern new feature introduction

In these examples, Etsy introduces existing sellers to a new feature called Pattern, which allows them to create a custom website and URL for their shop.

The good bits

  • The existing user is made aware of Etsy Pattern via a dismissable banner that appears on their seller dashboard, a form of an inline cue. This banner area has always been used for Etsy-to-seller communication so it is a natural progression. When the user taps on “Try it for free,” they see an indicator that their Pattern site is being set up. Instead of explaining what Pattern is, Etsy demonstrates its value by immediately importing the seller’s existing listings to create an interactive demo.
  • During initial import, Etsy uses a custom loading screen to build excitement and set expectations. If the user exits Pattern before publishing, but then returns to it later, they are not forced to see the loading screen again.
  • After importing listings into Pattern, the site brings the user to a dashboard with a default theme. It uses images from the user’s listings to illustrate how their shop would look with that theme and invites the user to change the theme and its styles. The user is never faced with a completely empty state where they have to start from scratch.
  • A lightweight user-guided tutorial displays non-interruptive hints to help a user take next steps. After the user tweaks their default theme’s settings, a hint appears above the “Preview” button suggesting they look at the results. After navigating through the preview, a hint appears above the “Start free trial” button, encouraging the user to commit their designs.
  • The user can fully interact in preview mode. Instead of blocking interaction, a blue alert bar appears if the user tries to do something, like Add to Cart, that cannot be completed without publishing the site first. This is a great free sample experience, allowing a user to interact and figure out if Pattern is right for their shop before committing to publish it.
  • Pressing “Start free trial” brings up a confirmation dialog with more information about the trial, including information about how long users have until they get billed and a link to the Pattern Policy. If the user clicks “Start free trial” again, they are greeted with a celebratory animation congratulating them on their new site. They also receive a welcome email that reaffirms the information about their new site.
  • If the user chooses to activate a blog for their Pattern site, they are greeted with another great inline cue treatment: a default post called “Some tips for your first blog post” that combats beginning the experience with an empty state. In addition to providing guidance, that default post is completely editable.
  • Etsy makes cancelling the free trial (“offboarding”) easy. There are access points in Settings, as well as in their onboarding emails, to cancel the Pattern subscription. Etsy also seeks out feedback on why the user wants to cancel.

To be improved

  • The follow-up email that Etsy sends a few days after setting up their Pattern site may include suggestions for tasks that the user has already completed (for example, it may encourage the user to change themes or create a custom domain even if they’d already done those things).
  • Etsy continues leveraging inline cue banners on the seller’s shop dashboard to communicate next steps they can take with their Pattern site. However, if the user dismisses these banners, it’s not immediately clear how they can return to their Pattern dashboard from the main Etsy site. It takes some hunting to find that there’s a permanent entry point in the “Your shop” flyout menu.
  • Occasionally, a banner prompting the user to set up their Pattern site will still appear after setting one up. This repetition makes it seem like Etsy isn’t paying attention to the user and increases the odds that users will treat these elements as annoyances.
  • A link to “what’s new” content remains docked at the bottom of the dashboard screen, even if there are no new updates since the last time the user read the release notes. While permanent access to release notes is a good thing, perhaps the phrasing can change from “What’s new” to “Release notes” when the user has already seen the most up-to-date content. Note: This issue was fixed by changing “What’s new” to “Release notes” a few days after I posted this. Thanks Etsy!