Helping a platform grow faster while maintaining its uniqueness


Not On The High Street is a curated marketplace. Increasing the seller base was one of the objectives of the team I worked with. To become a seller on the platform one needs to go through a vetting process.

We knew that currently it took a considerable amount of time— on average 47 days— to start selling on the platform.

Working with the New Partner Acquisition team (NUPA), who handled the seller applications and on-boarding, we wanted to look at reducing the time taken to bring sellers to our platform. This initiative had two main user groups - seller applicants and NUPA team members.

My role

I was involved in the project from discovery, concept formation to the execution phase. This included-

  • Running activities alongside a UX researcher during discover phase

  • Concept creations

  • Designing journeys and UI

  • Validating concepts with usability testing (working with a UX researcher)

  • Stakeholder management

  • Working with developers and ensure the product gets built as designed

Some facts

There wasn't much data tracking in place, so we didn't have much insights into the space

Applying to be a seller on the platform is a lengthy process

The lengthy process and the uncertainty it causes can negatively impact seller sentiment


Working closely with a UX researcher, we did a bunch of activities to gain a deeper understanding of the space.

Speaking with sellers
Spoke to newly accepted sellers to learn about their application and the on-boarding experience

Speaking with the NUPA team
Spoke to members of the team across the team hierarchy to understand roles, responsibilities, pain points and needs

Job shadowing

Observed curators to gain a deeper understanding of how the criteria changes depending on the context

Process Mapping

Created a map of the selection process to highlight how roles, criteria and tools work in conjunction with each other

What we learned

About the NUPA team

  • Seller selection process is fully manual

  • Applications are reviewed multiple times by multiple people

  • Selection criteria is highly subjective

  • The application form didn't collect all of the necessary information for the assessment

  • Lots of back and forth between the NUPA team and applicants for additional information

  • Partners’ brand matters more than their individual products

  • 18 days is the average time taken to make a decision on an application

About sellers

  • It was a big deal for sellers to apply and get accepted

“It’s just me in my business. It was a big deal and huge milestone for me to apply! I was really excited”

  • Sellers expect us to be vigorous in our approach. And respect or acknowledge what this meant for their business

  • Sellers do considerable amount of research their own research before applying (e.g., conversations on Facebook groups)

  • Partners mentioned that they didn’t know about the membership fee and commission when they applied, and were surprised later on

Opportunities identified

  • Collect relevant information on application

  • Improve communication around the selection process and terms

  • Improve internal process on sharing & reviewing applications

  • Clear criteria for decision making

  • Make cold leads application easier

  • Empower team decision making & increase confidence in the system


We decided to work on the application form—redesign it to collect relevant information


We believe that collecting more detailed information about the applicant's shop and products upfront will help us minimise back and forth. We Will know the hypothesis is valid when we see reduction in time taken to make decision

Existing form

Form design

We wanted ask the right questions to gather the correct information without overwhelming the applicant. We mapped the criteria on a matrix, which helped us ask the right questions

Our primary challenge was to gather critical X subjective information.

Identifying the information gaps helped us write the questions.

We understood from the research that the successful applications were the ones that presented their business well, so we designed the form to help applicants highlight their best products.

We also included questions that helped us get more nuanced data (widely available policy, readiness to sell, restricted products etc.)

Testing the questions

Once we had the questions and the structure ready, we wanted to put the questions in front of some users to check-

  • If they could understand all the questions

  • How difficult they find it to provide all this information

Quick throwaway prototyping
I used Google Forms to build the prototype for the test. We chose this method as it was easy to create and good enough to get answers for our questions.


  • Partners have access to their product details easily

  • Partners felt some details were repetitive across products

  • Personal & emotive questions were difficult to articulate

  • Partners believed the new form will reduce some of the ‘back and forth’ emails they experienced

  • Partners knew if their products needed licensing or certifications

Improvements & UI

Positive findings of the study meant we were now more confident to invest more time in the design. In the next phase I made changes to the questions as per the feedback from the test and started working on the UI.

For the UI we used the newly built design system, contributing to the ongoing initiative to overhaul the look and replatform products across NOTHS’ digital experience.

Testing & rollout

Once we had the form UI ready, we decided to do one more round of testing.

This time the main focus of the test was to interactions and the revised questions


  • There were two key findings from this round of testing-

  • No issues with the interactivity of the form

  • The need for more context around some question was highlighted

We decided to defer providing more context to the next iteration and release the new form as it was tested.


uplift in decisions in one review


reduction in time taken to reach a decision