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Toy Family

What parents do with the unused toys?
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The Problem

A lot of parents struggle in disposing off / donate toys which their kids don't use anymore.

A recent study revealed that Aussie parents could save themselves $1000 a month by just curbing spending money on unnecessary toys for their children. It's not just about spending, it's also the ridiculous amount of toys that are turned into plastics.
Idea - Inspired by a friend who mentioned the struggle of finding someone who might be interested in swapping her son's toys with their kids.
Assuming that all parents might be facing this problem we embarked on a research journey to get a detailed view of what parents do with the unused toys so that we could build the appropriate solution.

My Role

Interviews | User Research | Usability testing | Feature ideation  | User flows | Presentation
Secondary Research, Competitive Analysis, Affinity Mapping, Value Proposition, MOSCOW
Team Members
Hao Liang | Henrique Aguiar
2.5 Weeks
Figma & Miro


Average spend per child on toys in Australia is $500 in 2015, by country.

(in U.S. dollars)

Aussie parents are wasting thousands on toys and
gadgets for their kids.

Gumtree says the average Australian household
is sitting on 25 unwanted items worth $5400.

User Research

To get greater insights into our users, we did 14 interviews to get an understanding of what people do with the toys. These interviews helped us in understanding the users, their interests, and pain points.

Insights from users

Offer to friends/family

Every interviewee chose to offer to a friend or family first when they have an unused toy lying around

Take to a charity shop/donation bins

The majority of the interviewees would take the unused toys to a Charity Shop or Donation Bins

List the toy online for free

Some people find it easier
to post it on Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree
and have someone to pick-up the toy even if they are not making any money out of it.

Listing an expensive toy online

Many people have sold toys that cost a lot to try to recover some of their costs.

Buying second hand toys

Many people have bought second-hand toys online and some charitable institutions as well.

This helped us in creating User Personas and User Journey Map, which turned out to be really useful while listing out the features for Minimum Viable Product.


The Busy Declutterer
Kanika, 32
“I just want to get rid of the toy with minimum effort”
General Info
Kanika's Frustrations
Lives in a 2 BHk apartment, with her husband and 3-year-old son.
Her son is very fond of toys but she gets frustrated because their house is full of toys and they want to declutter it.
-Have to go or schedule to give away toys to charity
- Don’t know whether the toys have got a new family
- No dedicated platform for giving away/exchanging.
Kanika's Goals
- Giving away the toys to someone who will use it.
- Giving away with minimum effort and time.
Alex, 35
General Info
" I want to make sure where my toy is going and will it be used more?
Alex's Goals
Alex's Frustrations
Alex and his wife have two kids, a two-year-old daughter and a 7year old son. 
They usually try to donate their toys to charity but their concern is they want to know the toys are being used or not.
-Wants to know where the toy is going and be sure it's going to be used
-Extend the lifespan of a toy, especially if it’s still in good condition
-When buying second hand, the categorization on online platforms can be confusing
-Lack of pick-up/delivery service when buying/ selling second hand
The Generous Thrifter
Realizing that some toys are not being used
Offering toys to friends & Family
Listing the toy online for free
Handover process
This toy has not being used for a long time
It's an expensive toy I think I should sell it.
List item online
Have to arrange a convenient time for pick up
Can see less clutter
Hopeful that maybe I can re-home the toy
I don't want it to end up at a landfill
Someone will enjoy having this toy
Uncertainty: what if the person changes their mind?
Glad didn't throw it away, now someone will use it.
Unused toys are taking space in the home.
No dedicated platform for toy trading
It's annoying to take photos and write the description
Arrange date & time with the receiver
Child continues to ask for more toys
Design Recommendations
Make it easier to get rid of unused toys
Provide a way for people to donate the toys with minimum effort
Quick system to request a donation pick up
A pick up & delivery service
Platform where user can exchange toys instead of buying.
Make it easier for other users to find your listing

User Journey Map - The Busy Declutterer


Why Smith Family?

After understanding the users and their behaviour we decided to not just focus on swapping toys but also include selling, buying and donating toys with a meaningful focus on charity.
Donation being the first priority of the user, we decided to go for the Smith Family as it helps to build a better future for disadvantaged children.  

Business Specification

To help build a better future for disadvantaged children.


Physical stores only (now run by save the children)

User Base(Australia)

Local communities around the 17 physical stores

Beneficiary of sales

Disadvantaged children


-Give Away


-Person to person


-Children focused charity
-Emphasis on education


-Difficult to donate physical goods
-Stores only in NSW & VIC

We looked for some charity business partners like Salvos, Vinnies, and generic market places like Facebook & Gumtree which are not related to a cause, to analyse what these businesses offer.
The analysis offered us two main take-away : 
- No charities currently offer an effective online platform for 2nd hand toys.
- Current marketplaces lack focus and specificity for toys.   
Features for Toy Family
After gathering data, we decided to design an application that provides a dedicated platform to sell/buy/donate toys with a meaningful focus on charity and also allows toys to exchange hands with both users and charity. We also created a list of design features addressing the ‘problem space’. 
Design Features
Pain Relievers
Gain Creators
Buy toys
- Specific platform just for toys
- Buying second hand saves the buyer money
- Reduce unused toys/clutter in the house
- Know who your toy will be going to
- Recover some of the cost of an expensive toy
- Help reduce toy wastage/environmental impact
Sell toys

- Less effort and time needed to make donations

Pick up service
for toy donations
to charity
- Make donating toys more accessible
Raise funds for charity from sales
- Easy way for people to contribute to charity
- Same process: more meaningful outcome
Smart-categorisation (using Google Lens technology)

- More accurate categorisation

- Easier to find items

- Less pain during listing process

Follow up service for donations

- Know who your toy will be going to

- Know the impact your toy has had on another child/family


Part 1: Sketching all these features into one design
Once we better understood our idea and explored our data, we began additional ideation for our vision. We quickly settled on the basic components and layout of our visualisation through several quick rounds of sketches. We explored how we can integrate our features into the interface so that it becomes easier for people to buy, sell, and donate toys through our application without any complexities and confusion.
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Part 2: Converting the sketches into Interfaces
While converting our sketches into interfaces, we decided to chose the colour palate from Smith Family so that it gives the vibe of Smith Family product.
Part 3: Validating the design
We tested our prototypes with 5 candidates, observed users interacting with them, and listened to their likes and dislikes. This helped us in refining the design. 
Home Page
1st Iteration
One of the main pain points was that users were confused with tab configuration is a link to another page.
The problem that was pointed out was that the red color of the quick action bar misleads the user that it is associated with something negative.

To address this problem we made some changes in our design and colors that we used.
Final Iteration
By changing the size and quotation of the tab we overcame the confusion.
We changed the colour to blue to match the whole interface.
Donation Page
1st Iteration
It is important not only to give users an option to list toys for free within the app but also to reduce complexity but users intuitively thought that listing toys for free can be done in the sale section.
Another pain point for users was to look for pick-up service which wasn't very clear in the design. They thought they had to take toys to the shop.
Final Iteration
To make the pick-up service more specific we changed the heading and added a small description to make it more clear.
Add one more option to Find a store near you for people who want to go and donate directly to Smith Family Store.
Prioritised Features in the Interface


Raise funds for charity from sales
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Smart-categorisation (using Google Lens technology)
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Pick up service for toy donations to charity
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Follow up service for donations
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- There is always a scope of improvement in every design but in the time frame of two and half weeks we were able to achieve our design goal.
 - Users' wants aren’t necessarily users' need.
Initially we had an idea for swapping toys and thought it would work , but after user research, we realised that although they liked this idea, they had other preferences. 
- Internal communications drove the project
- If we had more time it would have been great to understand more about the dynamics between buyers and sellers online and how to design for them
We utilised software and tools while working remotely. This helped us in scheduling our tasks, goals and managing our availability. 


We used Figma Prototyping tool to create iterations of the app. It was helpful to play with the interactions in the design. 
Click on the screen to start the prototype.
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