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We created a mobile marketplace.

Project Scope

  • Consumer and Merchant Survey

  • Product Validation through Interviews

  • Clickable Prototype

  • Wireframes 

  • UI Design Patterns

  • UI Visual Design

  • Product Management

The Challenge

New Era Ventures (New Era) requested help from B.Brilliant to design a solution to validate their concept for an e-commerce platform that serves the interest of local, small product merchants in the Washington, DC area. The challenge was to develop prototype concept, marketing video, and promotional page within three weeks to present at the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference.  The prototype design needed to make the process of purchasing local products natural to influence buyers' behavior to support local businesses. We also needed to determine which delivery method would be best to build first:  a mobile app or a web platform.

The Solution

B.Brilliant designed the NEAR prototype mobile app to help test DC residents acceptance of a platform to discover and purchase local products from DC merchants in one place. DC residents will be able to explore the shops located near them and have delivery options that can meet their convenience needs. The testing of our concept revealed a need to focus on D.C. merchants first. Therefore, we followed with the design and development of the responsive web version of the NEAR application for more user and merchant testing. This approach makes it easier for merchants to load their inventory into the NEAR database.

The Outcome

The NEAR Team received interest for seed funding from a public official and economic developer. The NEAR app was presented at the WeDC House Showcase at SXSW and received enthusiastic attention from people and public officials who have an invested interest in the economic development of DC small businesses. The NEAR beta web app is at 

Consumer and Merchant Survey

We wanted to make sure we understood the value the app would bring to consumers. We surveyed 66 consumers and the results of their preferences and behaviors are as follows:  

  • Approximately 71% of respondents spend $51 dollars or more a month in online shopping for non-food items

  • Of approximately 53% of respondents, shop with small, DC-based businesses (excluding bars and restaurants) less than 10% of the time per month

  • However, 83% of respondents are interested in shopping with local businesses as long as it is easy to do

The Process and Methodology

Because of the short period of time to prepare for SXSW, we engaged in a rapid requirements synthesizing, wireframing, visual design, and prototyping. We used a lean and agile design process to collaboratively brainstorm the right minimum viable product (MVP) design to demo to potential clients and investors.


The key design decisions made for this mobile app include:

  • The onboarding process needs to encourage users to sign up and login. However, the app does require either to use the app's marketplace. Once the user enable location services and notifications, they can skip through the first time user experience screens to go directly the app home screen

  • To highlight quality products, the NEAR team will curate list of products to encourage store owners to create high quality products and drive revenue 

  • The user has multiple methods for searching including keyword search, search by category, and an exploration button so users can find local merchants within 5 miles of their current location

  • All delivery methods (i.e. shipping, delivery carrier, and curbside) will be trackable. The value proposition of the NEAR app is same-day and next-day delivery and curbside delivery for consumer exchanges that are convenient and fast.

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