UX/UI CASE STUDY — RENOMATE APP

Overview: For my final @ironhack project I created an app and worked individually. I chose a subject in which I could use my background as an interior designer and work with my interests.

From my experience, I know that as a designer or architect it is hard to find new clients if you don’t have a good network or if you are in a new city. At the same time, around me there were people who were renovating their homes who were complaining about how stressful and hard the renovation process is, and how difficult it is to find the right designer or architect. I wanted to create a solution for this, to get more information from both sides and learn what kind of problems they had.

Empathize

User Research

It was important to investigate and understand the pain points, and what the goals of my two types of users were. I decided to explore this further by doing deep interviews.

These are the some questions that I asked people who had renovated their house before:

What are the biggest obstacles when renovating your house?

How did you find your architect?

If you had a chance to go back and start your renovation process again, what would you do differently?

These were my common findings:

1. First, one of the most common problems was not knowing how to start the renovation process. Interviewees said that they didn’t know much about home renovations nor know where to start. The first thing that most people do is ask friends for advice. Most people had worked with an architect that their friends had recommended and didn’t even research other architects. They wished that they searched for other architects, seen their previous jobs, gotten feedback from their previous clients and decided after that.

2. Second, trying to find a renovation design within budget was also hard for them. During the renovation process, architects charged them for extra expenses, and in the end clients had to pay more than their budget for their renovation cost. Because of money problems, their projects took more time than they had originally planned.

The questions that I asked to architects and interior designers were:

How do you find your clients?

What are the biggest obstacles when trying to find clients?

What is the biggest struggle when coming to an agreement with your client?

How are clients finding you?

Do you like collaborating with other designers? Why?

What makes you want to work with a client?

These were my common findings:

1. Typically, architects and interior designers did not have a large-enough network, and it was difficult to find new clients and projects. It can be especially challenging for designers to find new clients if they are new in a city or beginning their career.

2. Budgets are also a problem because clients usually come with a limited budget and high expectations. Trying to explain these problems to clients was also challenging for professionals.

3. Architects and interior designers also like to work with other designers because they like to be exposed to different experiences and ideas, in addition to being able to work on projects easily together.

Define

Affinity Diagram

With insights from these interview results, I created an affinity diagram in order to turn data into actionable information. The next step was sorting the ideas into related groups and creating header cards for the groups. The goal was to organize the data in such a way where I could find repeating patterns, important themes, and pain points that I could turn into design opportunities.

Interpreting Data — “How Might We” Statements

With insights about the user frustrations and needs, I created “How Might We” (HMW) questions, which helped me to find design opportunities.

I came up with a multiple HMW questions, and after this step I asked four other people to vote which HMW statements they seemed more likely to generate good results.

How might we show clients how to calculate their renovation?

How might we help architects and interior designers to find new clients?

How might we help clients find architects and interior designers within budget?

User Journey

I summarised a story for each stage, which included drivers, goals, emotions, pain points, and critical moments. The user journey map helped me to build empathy with users, and also helped me identify gaps, pain points and opportunities for improvement.

Moscow / Feature Prioritization

With the Moscow Method I prioritized the features in the following ways: “must have”, “should have”, “could have” and “won’t have”. This helped me to focus on the most important and critical features. “Should have” features will most likely be available in the application, but aren’t necessarily critical to system function.

Crazy 8s

Crazy 8’s is a core design sprint method. With this method I drew eight distinct and different design sketches per minute for eight minutes.The goal was to push out the first idea — frequently the least innovative — and to generate a variety of solutions for my application design.

Site Map / Card Sorting

Prioritizing the features helped me to build up my site map in order to organise the contents, label and navigate them.

With the card sorting method I involved the users in the process to create an optimal information architecture. By giving them a chance to participate in the creation of categories and labels it exposes the informational structures. It was a great way to get users involved as it is efficient and easy to set up.

Concept Sketches

Ideating digital product layouts, or storyboard workflows and context scenarios, and starting out by sketching is much more efficient than jumping straight into digital software. I instead focused on the best possible solution, which made me feel comfortable to take risks that I might not otherwise take.

Low-Fidelity Prototypes

With the paper prototype I sketched out the main features and then built the prototype around that. Through the user flow I discovered what would happen at each stage of the task, and this helped me to explore the more technical aspects of my design.

Mid-Fidelity Prototypes

Moodboard

Before I started to create the high-fidelity prototypes, I needed to figure out my application’s mood and the feeling that I wanted to give my target users. At this stage I thought about the visual identity to define the brand’s attributes. Modern, encouraging, positive and cheerful were the adjectives that I wanted to represent the essence of my brand. The colours that I choose also represented these adjectives.

Renovations are very stressful and unnerving for people, which is why I used yellow as the primary colour to give people positive energy and encourage them to calculate their renovation costs. During this stressful process I want them to enjoy the process and be optimistic.

Alternatives

From the mid-fi prototypes, I choose four different screens and tested them with users, along with prototypes of my application to understand whether users would find them valuable. The goal moving forward was to focus on the app and create high-fidelity prototypes.

For the renovation calculator, users preferred to see calculation questions with a basic background rather than colourful, bold colours.

High-Fidelity Prototypes

Calculate your real cost of Renovation

  • First, the user calculates the real cost of the renovation with questions about their renovation area, type, and size that must be included in the renovation process.When they answer the questions they can still see previous answers, so they can always go back and edit their answers.
  • Next, the user will be asked what services are required for the renovation. For that question the user will see the different options of renovation services. When they click, they can see the quality of work ( Basic, Moderate, High) and an explanation of that service.
  • After answering those questions, the user will see the summary of their answers. When they confirm the results, they describe their project and make it public so architects can reach them through their projects and also see the details of their renovation.
  • The goal of this feature is to give the client the chance to see what their actual renovation costs are likely to be and arrange their budget accordingly.

Clients can find professionals

  • The users can then find professionals to help them to renovate their house within their budget. When they click the professionals icon, they will see the list of professionals with their important information. They can filter by location or by type of professionals.
  • Professionals’ profiles have reviews and comments from previous clients, their previous projects, and their website and contact information. Clients can reach them through the app and send them their saved project that they calculated before.
  • With this feature, clients will be able to find professionals that they trust and the ones that they like through their portfolios.

Professionals can find clients

  • When the clients send them a quote request, professionals will get an email with all the information about the renovation project details.
  • Professionals can also find new clients, share their portfolio and show their feedback to possible clients. It will be a place that professionals can market themselves.
  • Through the “Projects” button, professionals can see the renovation projects that clients share. So they can filter by location or project type, and they can contact clients through their contact information, which is only available to see for professionals’ profiles.

Next steps…

  • From my user research I found out that clients and also professionals have problems with finding productive tradesmen and getting in contact with them. So I would like to find a solution to include tradesmen in the app.
  • I would like to also add more questions for calculating the renovation costs, so users can get a more accurate budget.

Thank you for reading! Hope you enjoyed this case study. If you have any feedback, I’d like to hear from you. Say hello at denizpasn@gmail.com or connect on Linkedin.