eBay Chief Product Architect Steve Yankovich took a stroll down memory lane
this week and recalled the early days of eBay's mobile app. It's hard to believe, but the 10-year anniversary of the eBay app is approaching.
Despite eBay having launched an app in 2008, it wasn't until Yankovich came on board in 2009 that the company took mobile apps more seriously.
"We launched the first eBay app for iOS in 2008 and there was only one person working on it at the time. When I joined eBay in 2009, I was coming from a startup and hardware background so I was immediately interested in leveraging what I knew was going to become an important mobile platform," he wrote.
Yankovich skips over some of the history of eBay Mobile prior to his joining the company that former eBayer Alan Lewis revealed in 2011. Lewis said the app almost didn't get built in 2008 and said eBay disbanded the Mobile team at the end of that year. You can read more about Lewis' revelations in this 2011 AuctionBytes Blog post
Yankovich wrote about the evolution of eBay's mobile strategy, including the reminder that at one point, eBay had separate apps for different verticals such as Fashion and Motors. New iPhone features being added had huge impact on each evolution of the app, he said.
He addressed the challenge of designing for a small screen. "It really forced us to think about the user interface and what we would use to fill out the real estate throughout our app experience. This new approach paved the way for our "mobile first" strategy."
As challenging as that is for the product team, that may be nothing compared to the challenges sellers face when dealing with the impact of a mobile-first strategy. Some features are different on the mobile app; some desktop features are changed as a result.
But what has concerned sellers most over the years is that buyers be able to see the full description of their items on mobile devices to reduce the chances of returns.
What's the eBay mobile app like today - and does it represent your items well on small screens? We'd love to hear your thoughts.