Connect home-share seekers to create more happy homes

Duration: 2 weeks
Client:
Homefinder.com (Concept project)
Service design / UX design / UI design


Project scope: 
As for our third project in General Assembly User Experience Immersive course, we worked on concept project for Homefinder.com: Property listing website. It was our first group project and I was in team with Raquel and Thomas.


Methods used:

  1. Research
    1–1.Business landscape analysis
    1–2.Primary user and audience research
    1–3.Quantitative research
    1–4.Qualitative research
    1–5.Data analysis
     1–6.Journey map
    1–7. Personas
  2. Insight analysis & Strategy 
     2–1.Insight analysis /strategy
     2–2.Business model campus
     2–3.Service Blueprint
  3. Product design
    3–1. Feature prioritization and MVP
    3–2. Sketching / testing
     3–3.UI Design / Final Interactive prototype

So as well as things we learned through project 1/2, we learned new method, tried out and apply that learning to the project.


Background: HomeFinder.com: online property listing is looking into new business opportunity: home-sharing.
 It wants to be part of creating share ”Homes”- not just houses by helping people create an enjoyable living environment.


  1. Research:

1–1. Business landscape analysis

As on the brief, demands on home-sharing is increasing significantly especially due to high rent.

There are platforms that works as a mediator between room rentier and home-share seeker yet none of the property agent has stepped their foot into home-share market.

Above: Some of the platforms people use to find home-share

Our team talked to property agent to find out why. And find out 2 facts.

  1. Many seeking for home-share lives in the bay area for the first time. They do not people to share with. And they do not have money to rent it by themselves so home-share seekers look into rental property.
  2. Finding house for people takes time, property agents has to go visit many properties with potential renter. Cost does not meet the profit share-home brings in.

So as for business, we needed to 
1. Create a way to connect home-share seekers Homefinder.com ’s property listing somehow
2. Make house viewing more efficient to profit business

1–2. Primary user and audience analysis

By talking to people people seeking home-sharing, we identified following chalacteristics:
● Single/ No family
 ● Seek share-home for financial reason
 ● Open-minded / social at least in some extent
● Moved to area, not many friends/ relative in area
Based on those findings, we narrow down our research target and conducted quantitative and qualitative research.

1–3. Quantitative research 
As to learn research methods, we were tasked to create a online survey to gain quantitative data. I wanted to use Typeform (It create beautiful and simple survey form and thought that could potentially increase # of answers we will receive) but as it costs (and we are students) we decided to go with Google form. (This is the survey we created)

1–4. Qualitative research
We talked to friends/ classmates (Total 12 participants)who has experience searching for home-share and asked set of questions to hear their experience, especially in emotion involved in searching for home-share. We learned active listening technique as well as open question techniques. We implement it as much as we can to get the most out of our interviews.

Raquel interviewing at the cafeteria. I was a note taker.

1–5. Data analysis
With the data we collected both from qualitative and quantitative research, we did an exercise called “ Affinity mapping” Affinity mapping is exercise of writing down findings in post it notes, and categorizes data according to similarity in findings. When categorizing, if there are less than 3, it is too weak to follow us as a insight. While over 10 is too generic, it has to be breakdown further. After categorizing, we gives one sentence that represent the finding in first person’s perspective. For example, “ I am tired of searching for home. It is time consuming.” This exercise allows us to further understand target audience’s behavior and emotion.

Our affinity map with all findings from qualitative and quantitative research

1–6. Journey map
Customer journey is a graphical visualization of the service. It is often used to identify the pain point of customers interaction with product. As for us, we used it to identify pain point of people searching for home-share. Based on the searching behavior of people we identified via research, we created a customer journey map.

1–7. Personas
Based on those findings, we created two personas, did empathy map to further understand their environment and emotion involved in searching for home-share.

Persona1: Michael
Persona2: Jessica

2. Insight analysis & Strategy

2–1.Insight analysis & Strategy
From the research, those are the insight we identified important.

1. People dislike the process of searching for home share.
 
Browse listing, messaging each renter, organizing viewing: Searching for home share takes time and it is stressful.

2. People matter as much as property. Yet it is hard to check the personality match before moving in.

With those insights, we came to idea of creating a platform to connect individual home seekers to the houses by their house preferences. But it was lacking most important insight: “People matter”. During the interviews, many talked about their negative experience in having housemates they do not get along with. This idea made house search effective, yet it will not help people create a “Home”.

We conducted second round of research and brainstorming session to find ways to connect people. Instead of researching for competitors, this time, we researched into mechanics of “Matching like minded people” by looking into matchmaking apps (Tinder, Coffee meets Bagel) and services that create community (WeWork, Meetup, General Assembly). This brought us to realize that key to connecting like-minded people is old-fashioned ”physical meetings”.

Comparator research

With this finding, we focused on creating events that connect share seekers and build in other mechanics around this main feature. People will be introduced to houses listed on homefinder with people you liked at the event as a priority.

Storyboard

2–2.Business model campus
During this module, we had an opportunity learning service design. As our project is service based, we decided to try out the tools we learned in service design module. First thing was business model campus. Business model campus is used to easily understand the business model and analyze it’s feasibility.

Business model campus

2–3. Service Blueprint

Service blue print is a tool that allows stakeholders to better understand customer interactions with their product or service over time. The service blueprint contains the customer journey as well as all of the interactions that make that journey possible. We read guide to service blueprint to create blueprint for our service.

Service blueprint we created

3. Product design strategy

3–1. Feature prioritization and MVP (Minimal Viable Product)
Building a product takes time and cost. Yet there are limited time and resource. We learned about feature prioritization and MVP so that we can assess and test the idea without wasting too much time. To start with, we created list of features we could have, then discussed in the team by referring back to service blueprint / storyboard to assess the most important.

List we created

This allows us to think of what kinds of feature has to be accessed via nav bar as well.

Based on thought we had, we sketched out the interface, build that in sketchapp, and created interactive prototype on Invision.

We tested with people and from the feedback, we amended followings

  1. Change sign in to use SNS for verification (People wants to know all the people on platforms are verified)
  2. Added viewing scheduler for effectively schedule viewing and therefore reduces real estate staff cost.

With those amendments in mind, we created final prototype, presented in the class… with PJ on :)

https://invis.io/ZMCT8GTD9

Sign up/ event flow
At event flow
Viewing arrangement flow