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Shopee Product & Design Challenge 2021

This case study is also available on Behance.

Before my final year in university, I joined the Shopee Design Challenge 2021 with 3 other members.

Shopee’s Design Challenge 2021 Theme

Make a proposal to engage the 2021 local consumer from any of the 7 markets that Shopee is based in Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and Taiwan. The proposal should focus on i) improving an existing feature or ii) creating a new feature that would enable Shopee to remain the leading e-commerce platform in your chosen market. Proposals should also consider Shopee’s current initiatives on its mobile app in the respective markets and the local consumer behaviour. Read more here.

Market Research

Our team started researching Shopee’s market share in the various regions. We did this to identify market(s) with growth potential or market(s) that were generating the highest revenue as a starting point to scope our research. Across the Southeast Asia regions, Shopee was found to be within the top 3 most visited e-commerce sites.

We selected the Philippines as our target market because:

  1. Filipinos are heavy users of mobile phones making it important for Shopee to retain competitiveness in the usability and experience of the Shopee mobile app.
  2. The population of 107 million people skews towards a young, tech-savvy group of Millennial and Gen Z consumers that Shopee can leverage.
  3. Shopee ranks 2nd by e-commerce site visits in the Philippines, behind its strong competitor Lazada.

We also weighed our ability to interview real Filipino users under the tight schedule and short notice. Having access to actual users would allow us to gather real user problems and validate our assumptions.

User Research

We conducted a focus group interview with 8 Filipino youths in their 20s via Zoom to learn more about what they thought about the current Philippines Shopee app. We asked about their purchasing behaviour, platform, payment methods and frequency of purchase to verify against prior market research. Additionally, we created a mock scenario requiring youths to think aloud while making a pseudo purchase to simulate a walkthrough of how they navigated the Shopee app. This allowed us to observe their customer journey and better understand their thoughts during the purchase and navigation process. Finally, we ended by asking for generic comments and input for the application, for us to consider.

Here is a summary of the key pain points identified from interviewing users.

user research pain points on whiteboard for shopee design challenge 2021

We narrowed it down to these two problem statements. We chose to work on these two problems by weighing the cost to Shopee to implement, the potential impact on revenue and the importance of the potential features to Filipino users.

Problem statements for shopee design challenge 2021

Problem Statement 1: How can we protect younger and underaged users using Shopee to earn coins for their family members from viewing explicit products?

Problem Statement 2: How can we lower the barrier to entry to Shopee for older and less tech-savvy customers who often support the checkout process in the family unit?


We created two personas to represent the user types that would be directly impacted by the problems based on our research so far.

Mindful micah persona for shopee design challenge 2021
‘Mindful Micah’ cares about ensuring the Shopee app content remains a safe place for her younger siblings who should not be exposed to mature products with explicit images.
Puzzled Philippe persona for shopee design challenge 2021
‘Puzzled Philippe’ cares about having an easier time understanding how to use and purchase from the Shopee app without errors.


We explored Shopee’s pages and noticed they used strong primary colours and had many sections with slightly different colours. We put together a style guide to aid our design process and understanding of the design system and user interface design.

With the tight timeline, we decided to sketch and prototype one new feature for each of the problem statements and personas.

low fidelity sketch shopee design challenge 2021
Low fidelity sketch of the feature to limit younger audience from consuming mature content from the product listing.

Final Product Wireframes and Information Architecture

The first feature tackles problem statement 1 and is ‘Mature Content Restriction’.

mature content restriction key features shopee design challenge 2021
Key features of Mature Content Restriction

Since the Shopee app can be used with an account and without an account, we created sitemaps for both cases.

logged into state mature content restriction shopee design challenge 2021
Information architecture for a scenario where the user logs into account and uses mature content restriction
not logged into state mature content restriction shopee design challenge 2021
Information architecture for the scenario where the user is not logged into the account and uses mature content restriction

The second feature tackles problem statement 2 and is ‘Quick Access Tutorials’.

quick access tutorial key features shopee design challenge 2021
Key features of Quick Access Tutorial
logged in state information architeture for quick access tutorial shopee design challenge 2021
not logged in state information architeture for quick access tutorial shopee design challenge 2021

I would like to thank the organisers and coaches of Shopee Product and Design Challenge 2021 for all the preparation that made it happen. To read about my other design projects, check out my blog!

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