PLACED

An application that connects tenants to housing and helps them to secure it for a long-term rent

Skills:

Case study creation

UX Research

Figma

Figma Jam

Duration:

October 2021 – January 2022 

Roles:

UX Designer

Assets Collector

UX Writer

UX Researcher

Design Challenge Brief

Have you ever been struggling with finding a place for rent? So was I.

The process of finding & applying for a long-term apartment is long, exhausting, and unpredictable for renters. Finding a place to live depends on multiple factors like being a single renter, pet owner, family with small kids or a newcomer. 

By investigating this problem space, I dived deep into the issues and developed an understanding of particular challenges renters face while searching for long-term housing for rent.

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01 |  RESEARCH

Secondary Research Key Findings

Task Flow Diagram

Research Insights

Persona

Design Question

Secondary Research Key Findings

This work began with a research project to uncover what is a current problem about and why it exists.

  •  A new survey finds nearly 30% of Americans believe there is a negative social stigma against renters. This belief is prevalent among renters and homeowners alike (33%t and 28% respectively).
  • Apartment Rental in Canada Market Size Growth in 2021 is 12.2%
  • 30% share of renters under the age of 35 forms the most affected demographic group
  • Annual immigration in Canada amounts to around 300 000 new immigrants. Upon arrival, 64% of newcomers rent their first home
  • According to a poll by YouGov, 76% of people looking to rent would go to the internet to find what they need; rising to 88% for those aged 25–34

Research Insights

Before actual research, I came up with one hypothesis and one assumption:

HYPOTHESIS

During the research, I conducted a series of interviews, where I determined the main Pain Points, Frustrations, and Motivations of the tenants:

Interview-Points_-Behavior

I've discovered that:

  • Potential tenants are extremely uncomfortable sharing personal information with landlords just to apply as a tenant
  • The rental search process is long and exhaustive. I would add it's TOO long and super frustrating
  • Potential tenants wished for a real-time video tour so they could see multiple places with different locations in a short time instead of multiple trips within an inconvenient time frame

Afterwards, I designed the "Tenant-centered Wheel" to visualize what disturbs renters the most:

Interview-Key-Insight_03

Design Question

After conducting interviews and analyzing Interview Key Insights, a design question arises:

How might we help potential renters virtually view and apply for listings, so that they can easily secure long-term housing they can trust?

Persona

Based on insights, I designed a Persona, Logan Kehoe, who lives in Toronto and would like to move to Vancouver this spring.
Persona

Task Flow Diagram

For developing the task flow diagram, considering the persona's Goals and Pain Points, I've selected the task "To secure a housing" as a part of the User Story: "As a potential renter, I want to be able to sign a Tenancy Agreement with an electronic signature so that I can secure a housing"

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02 |  IDEATION

Sketching
Low Fidelity Prototype
User Testing
High Fidelity Prototype
Marketing Website

Sketching

FIrst steps to ideate were performed with simple and effective tools - pen and paper. Click through the gallery to explore final sketches.

Low Fidelity Prototype

WIth Low Fidelity Prototype, I was able to perform quick user testing and gather valuable feedback at an early stage to implement changes.

User Testing Findings

To see the full report of User Testing please click here

Round 1

Task #1 “Selecting a listing category”

  • All users were selecting a Category without hesitating which option to use

  • Few users were confused by the “Becoming a Host” menu option name on this screen suggesting renaming it to “Becoming a Landlord”

  • “Our Approach” label name was confusing for the Home Page Section. "What We Offer" label was suggested instead

  • A minor suggestion was brought to use a price range bar instead of preselected options to give more freedom when searching

  • Search Bar: Filter for bedroom/bathroom quantity was suggested to be added

  • Seeing how many listings are available for the selected filter/Category feature was suggested

Task #2 “Navigating to Listing Details screen”

  • All users easily navigated to the Listing Detailed Page by clicking on the relevant card
  • All users expressed concerns on how to use the Map feature on this screen, suggesting adding Pins to the Map to determine the location of the listing
  • Some users struggle with determining their current location on a Map
  • Some suggestions were provided on how the user could apply a few filters simultaneously on this screen

Task #3 “Applying to the Housing”

  • Some users recognized the “Applying” feature, not the “Sending a Request to Apply” option
  • Suggestion to add larger Pricing information to the top section of the Screen to increase the visibility of the important information
  • The “Contact Owner" button was suggested to be moved to the top to give more space to the photos

Task #4 “Navigating to the Notifications Screen”

  • The notification button showed 2 incoming messages while one message appeared on a screen as new
  • The “Done” button was confusing for most of the users
  • Notification message was leading to an incorrect order of messages
  • The “Done” button should lead the user to the “all sent request” page
  • Most users desired to have a timestamp for a notification
  • Some users wanted to see the "Due Date" tag to get an idea of how long time do they have to accept the offer from the Landlord
  • Notifications Screen was taken like a chat option or users cabinet by some users
  • “Review and Sign” button name was suggested for the “Sign” button to reflect proper user Action

Task #5 “Reviewing and Signing the Tenancy Agreement”

  • Some users expressed the opinion that more security should be used when signing the "Agreement"
  • Most users wished for the "Back" button in case they need time to think before signing the Agreement or do it later

With the help of the Design Prioritization Matrix, I was able to determine my next steps for improving the prototype according to their priority.

Design-Prioritization-Matrix

Round 2

Task #1 “Selecting a listing category”

  • Few users selected “Search Bar” to start the Search as an option (instead of a starting from the selecting "Category")

Task #2 “Navigating to Listing Details screen”

  • Some users didn’t understand how location is applied to the search
  • The map seems to be “cropped”
  • Incorrect quantity of results is shown on the Listings Screen
  • The quantity of the Maps pins is incorrect
  • Pets Icon is confusing

 Task #3 “Applying to the Housing”

  • Text under the“Apply” screen is too small to read
  • “More details” link text style is too small

Task #4 “Navigating to the Notifications Screen”

  • Property picture with an address didn’t feel like related to the message (was taken line an advertisement for other properties)

Task #5 “Reviewing and Signing the Tenancy Agreement”

  • Potential renters wished to have a summary of what they accomplished in the end
    Scroll Bar or Document Border for the Tenancy Agreement is missing

In round 2, there were fewer improvements, but still valuable ones:

Design-Prioritization-Matrix-Round-2

High Fidelity Prototype

Introducing you High-Figh Prototype for Searching and Securing the housing for long-term rent:

Marketing Website

As Part of the project, Marketing Website was designed for Desktop and Mobile viewport

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03 | VISUAL DESIGN

Moodboard
Branding Colors
Typography
Wordmark

Moodboard

Color inspiration is driven by simple and modern images in gray and orange. Orange represents changes and enthusiasm, while gray gives neutrality and balances an orange. 

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Branding Colors

When applying colors to Hi-Fi prototype, I’ve considered the Golden Ration (6:3:1) Rule, so 60% of artboards are in neutral white, 30% is for complementary “Off Black” and 10% is for accents - “Active Orange”

Primary Colors

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System Colors

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Typography

Helvetica Neue is a font type selected for "Placed" in different siizes and weights

Typography

Wordmark

"PLACED" wordmark created with "Bangla MN" font type and "roof" lines to emphasize how important it is to find a home and have a place to live.

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Key Takeaways

While designing a solution for an existing problem of finding and securing housing for long-term rent, I've uncovered insights and lessons to learn. Here you will find a few of them:

  1. Bring the ambiguity. Not having the answers is ok before you start. Responding to research and insights accepting that there are still unknowns is part of the UX Design process. 
  2. The importance of early testing is crucial. Test, test & gather opinions! Analyze and learn what your customer wants. 
  3. Prioritize. Don't try to fix every problem in your design, start with critical and major ones.
  4. Feedback is your source of truth. Unless your product is in use and everybody is happy - design is still in progress. 

Let's connect:  krainna@icloud.com

Website design  © 2022 Inna Kravchenko