As part of an exploration into the politics of categorization and how to manifest identity, I focused on Etsy’s narrative of handmade and proposed a tool. I analyzed 62 posts in the Short Stories series, in which sellers write up the story behind a special product, and parsed them into 22 categories.
Etsy has done a commendable job in making the right products easier for buyers to find. Although Etsy continues to improve its search tools and interface, it has not focused on how to bring out the crafter’s inspiration behind the product. Crafting is deeply personal, and handmade products often issue out of some aspect of identity. This is a selling point of handmade products that is muted on Etsy.
The story should not be the selling point for products, it does contribute to the meaning of handmade products. Even though short stories is a useful series, that storytelling space is separate from the point of sale (the product page). I wanted to bring the story into the commercial space without overwhelming the product. Keeping those criteria in mind and inspired by the Firefox Tilt extension, I decided to nest any storytelling features in the product page.