Ezra Box – Homepage Redesign

Branding // UX // Illustration

Storage can be a huge pain for many college students on campus. Many services in the area are overpriced and unaccommodating, charging extra for special items that can’t fit in the boxes they provide and setting rigid times and dates that are difficult to change. Ezra Box aims to address these common issues by providing peer-to-peer storage services that are far cheaper and more flexible.

Ezra Box is growing quickly. Many customers heard about our services through word-of-mouth, but this year we are hoping to reach more people both off and online. The first online impression that potential customers get is through the homepage, so it must clearly communicate the Ezra Box’s strongest selling points.

Ideally, the homepage should:

Clearly answer users’ fundamental questions in headline
Have clear call to actions based on users’ purposes
Set the service apart from others by pitching the renter and host benefits
Engage users with relevant, familiar, and beautiful visuals

As a UX designer and illustrator on the team, I set out to discover the ways in which this page was falling short.

The Current Homepage

Here are some images of the old homepage.

old homepage design

I took the quiz out of curiosity.

My results for the quiz based on an arbitrary number of boxes that I entered

I chatted with a few people about their storage experiences and asked them to walk through different parts of the homepage. Here’s a few things I heard and saw:

Summary of Observations

  1. “Eh…I’ll take the quiz later” — User

2. Several people tried to click ‘Rent’ in navigation bar to get to the listings. ‘Rent’ ended up taking them to a section on the homepage, and this confused them.

3. In a couple instances, the quiz said that users would save $0 in average

4. “This doesn’t seem that much better than other services” — User

5. People glanced over the page, barely reading the text

In general, the people I talked to seemed disinterested and unconvinced. When I asked them for their thoughts at the end, they said they wouldn’t feel particularly drawn towards the service based on the experience they had with the homepage.

The homepage: Ambiguous and lukewarm

People have to work to learn more

The current homepage is quite text-heavy. Many users spend a minute or less on a page, and lots of text can turn them off even more. Additionally, the quiz is meant to persuade people of Ezra Box’s affordability, but it had the opposite effect. Users either skipped the quiz or questioned its validity, asking how the calculations were made and what the numbers were based on.

Unclear call to actions due to flawed information hierarchy

Users were confused about the purpose of the navigation bar because they expected it to lead to different pages when it only allowed them to jump between different parts of the homepage. This misled users into thinking that “Rent” was a call to action that would bring them to the listings page.

Benefits are not explicitly outlined

Although Ezra Box touts flexible services and a $20-per-item price cap as its strongest benefits, there is no explicit mention of these things on its homepage. When I mentioned these advantages at the end of conversations with users, they were decently surprised and it changed their perception of the business for the better.

Goals of Redesign

These issues formed my main goals for the redesign:

Explicitly state benefits [flexibility, affordability, and earning money (for hosts)]
Simplify: Show rather than tell
Introduce clearer call to actions

Explorations

Low fidelity

For my low fidelity explorations, I considered two main focuses. One was targeted towards renters (top and bottom calls to action lead to listings) and one was targeted towards getting people to sign up (either as a host or a renter).

Option A would make it easier for renters to access listings right away. While that functionality on B is less obvious (the search bar is placed on the top right corner), it contains clear call to actions for both hosts and renters to sign up.

I decided on Option A because ultimately, Ezra Box is a first and foremost a service for people who need affordable storage space. Thus, the designs need to cater towards those primary users by providing multiple clear cues towards the listings.

Medium Fidelity – Call to Action

Another thing I considered was what the main call to action on the homepage banner should be. I was deciding between a form with possible filter options versus a button that would just take the user to all listings.

Option A, in some contexts, offers the benefit of allowing users to tailor their options immediately. However, this works better in situations where there is a high volume of choices to sort through (airplane tickets for example). Sometimes users would attempt to filter on Ezra Box’s old site and get no results at all.

Discussing this further with a potential user, I realized that most first-time visitors will enter the website not knowing what to expect, so they would simply want to see what’s available as soon as possible before trying to narrow down their search results. These considerations led me to choose Option B.

Medium Fidelity — Final Format

For the final format, I had a header with a simple call to action for those who knew they wanted to use Ezra Box, followed by alternating columns of lists and images that detailed three main benefits: a) the $20 price cap (replacing the quiz), b) verified hosts and safety of items, c) money making opportunities for hosts. More advantages of choosing Ezra Box would be listed below. Another call to action would be added to the bottom for users who became convinced after browsing through the rest of the information.

Illustration and Visual Identity

Illustrations are often used to help people envision themselves using a service or product. Earlier, I mentioned that one of my goals was to simplify by showing, not telling. I hope to accomplish that through the use of artwork throughout the homepage.

Banner Image

When we talk about flexibility, it can be in the context of scheduling or timing. But with Ezra Box, it also extends to what you can store with hosts and how much easier it is to store irregularly shaped items (fans, vacuums, guitar cases, etc.). There are popular storage services around Ithaca that force students to fit items into a box of fixed dimensions and/or charge more for anything that doesn’t. I wanted the illustration to visually explain the headline, which mentions flexibility. It implies that users can store uniquely shaped items at no extra cost.

Cheap prices, Verified Hosts, and Earn Money as a Host (respectively)

These smaller illustrations are aimed at further demonstrating the benefits. In the leftmost piece, the boxes are marked by price tags that all fall under the range of Ezra Box’s pricing system. In the next illustration, the magnifying glass signifies the meticulousness of Ezra Box’s inspections and the checkmark indicates the validity and trustworthiness of hosts. And finally, the third illustration is meant to visualize the ease of hosting a renter’s items and earning money through that responsibility.

Final

I used a cooler palette because I wanted to convey security, trust, and calmness. Storage can be very frustrating for anyone, and it is imperative to show how Ezra Box can help soothe the common pains that people experience while trying to store their items.

I am still looking for opportunities to fine-tune these concepts, as our website is still under renovation. I look forward in the coming weeks to gathering more feedback about how I can improve what I currently have.

Ezra Box’s website is currently under renovation and I am currently working with the team on other features such as the booking process, the signup process, and the on-boarding process. I am also solidifying the visual identity for the rest of the website as well as creating illustrations for other parts of the platform.