OLX Insertion Fees

In january 2016, I started working in a team that would take care of our Professional Seller persona. The main project we worked on during a whole semester was called Insertion Fees. It was about starting to charge users in the Cars and Real Estate categories when they published over 2 ads at OLX.

This project was very important for the company, because it represents a major change in the business model: it is no longer a totally free classifieds platform. These rules make payment a mandatory step.

The expected outcome was not only as a lever for the company's income; with this project, we could reduce fraud and duplicated ads in these categories, improving the overall quality of the ads and also reply conversion for the professional sellers (concentrated in these categories).

Obviously, as the impact would be huge, we took all the caution we possibly could to make sure users were understanding this new message. Goal #1: user should understand they can't publish for free anymore and have to choose a paid product. Goal #2: improve optional paid products' sale.

In this team, I'm responsible for gathering insights with the PO, planning and conducting user research, wireframing, creating navigation flows and creating architecture specs for the UI designer and developers.

The whole process, summarized:

  • In the first weeks, we had many team meetings to set up the new product rules and set overall priorities;
  • User testing round 1: we made a very rough prototype based on a current screen to test the concept with users. The PO conducted a usability test and I was the note-taker, based on a script we wrote together.
  • Work round 1: with the insights, we changed the way we communicated and the screen structure. we also refined the task flow.
  • User testing round 2: we made a more ellaborate prototype and invited more users to a usability test I planned and conducted from beginning to end. The results were also presented to the company.
  • Work round 2: again, working based on the insights. We also had an external demand from the telesales team who needed more highlight in this page.
  • Parallel: the team changed name to Paid Products, which meant we'd keep the same project but also have future ideas about how to monetize. I created a survey about this subject so that we could draw conclusions.
  • User testing round 3: we invited more users to test this new layout. We also set up a public observation room in an auditorium livestreaming the test, so that any other employees outside of the team who had curiosity about user tests could see how it works. It was our attempt to spread the UX culture in the company.
  • Tying the knots – Pending Pay project: we're currently working on other improvements necessary for the good functioning of this new business model, such as making payment available in the user account.


Note: all the users recruited were within the Professional Sellers of Real Estate and Cars, who would be impacted by the change.


OLX Brazil, 2016

Information architecture and user research:

Erica Zambrano

Visual design:

Juscieldo (Lavi) Santos
Luiza Bielinski

User testing round 1

Main learnings:

  • Users didn't identify with being called "Professionals" so they thought they landed in the wrong page.
  • The screen is too similar to the one they see when inserting a free ad. Should be radically different so they perceive something has changed.
  • Reaction to the mandatory ad insertion fee is obviously negative.
  • We identified the main questions users had to later write a FAQ.

Work round 1

I then proceeded to wireframing the new options for the this page and also refining the flow, especially in iOS, which had some issues with changing page names and tab bar labels. 

For desktop, we ended up with 3 options to test in the next round, based on our hypothesis for the rejections on the first round and also on benchmark,




User testing round 2

Main learnings:

  • Message about the free ad on top of page was being ignored.
  • People just looked straight to the product blocks.
  • People hoped to see all the information at once.
  • They had many questions about the products being offered.
  • Winner version was the one with separate products; mix-and-match was too confusing and up-selling had too many steps.

Work round 2

We developed an option that would incorporate everything we learned in the last round. The most interesting insight here was to transform the information about "ad limit reached" into a disabled-looking box, side by side with the available products, since it's where they focused. This version went live on the website without further testing.


A few weeks later, the telesales team asked us to build a version where their product was more visible. They sell special packages to professional listers who publish over 10 ads a month. So we worked on that too, and took two versions to testing

Version 1 listed the websales products on top, but dedicated a big and beautiful area for the telesales team right below, with more detailed information.
Version 2 treated the telesales product in the same level as the websales products, bringing less information but being immediately visible within the first scroll.


Showing only most relevant part of the screen here)

Showing only most relevant part of the screen here)

User testing round 3

Main learnings:

  • Version 2 brought more attention to the telesales product in comparison to version 1
  • However, benefits weren't still clear: language change was needed
  • The version that was live on the site still had better language than the one we were proposing
  • Live-streaming the user test was a big win, even though not as many people as we'd hoped showed up

Pending Pay

After making the needed changes to the layout, we still had other touchpoints on the website and apps that we had to improve, as a team, for a good functioning of the new rules. One of them is allowing users to pay for ads later, and not only right after writing them.

This task was much more technical: we didn't do user testing, but we had different cenarios to cover. The main goal was to make it clear for the user with pending payment to achieve his goal, but also not showing anything about payment for users who'd never hit this condition. So, we decided to work with dynamic tabs in all platforms. The "pending payment" tab only appears when there's content to be shown.

This project also had a big task concerning standardizing the language used throughout the app and how we reference ad status: active, published, pending payment, pending activation etc. This got such big proportion that we had to involve marketing and legal departments as well.