The home services industry is worth billions, but millennial homeowners and renters alike report difficulty in finding reliable and affordable contractors that return on the value they promise. Compounded by a seemingly ubiquitous lack of millennial DIY knowhow, this is a problem that has long led to frustration and headache for homeowners and renters. The solution? On-demand home services apps that put the control back into the hands of homeowners and renters.
Looking to take advantage of this trend, your stakeholder wants to build a home services eCommerce marketplace that connects millennial renters and homeowners to local home service professionals. In distinction from industry competitors, your stakeholder plans to offer a one-stop solution for finding, reviewing, bidding, scheduling and paying for home service requests. In the words of your key stakeholder contact, “I want to be the Uber of home services solutions.”
The stakeholder has stressed that the product needs to provide both the homeowner/renter and the contractors with value, simplicity, trust and transparency. With this product, homeowners/renters will save time with a central database of home service professionals and cut costs with flat-rate commissions; while home service professionals will reduce their customer acquisition costs and consolidate their invoice practices with streamlined, cashless payments.
Most of the user interviews stated that people would much rather attempt a DIY project after researching how to do it and if it is within their skill level. Most interviewees said that they know when something is out of their skill set and when a repair/update/new construction project is out of their skill set, that is when they would hire a contractor. Most interviewees go by either word of mouth from friends, family, or neighbors and hire based on previous work and reviews.
Interviewees also mentioned that cost and time are a big factor in deciding to DIY something or hire a contractor to do the work.
After gathering the data from interviews, surveys, and research, what was found out was that the original background we were given, had conflicting information to what was discovered. We brought the information to the stakeholders attention and he told us to proceed on with the information we gathered as opposed to what his original background stated. The conflict is that the app was supposed to be built for people to get in touch with contractors, which is still going to be a function of the app, but the app will also teach DIYers how to do projects themselves. It might seem like the app just got a lot more elaborate (lets be honest, it did) but at the same time adding in the DIY portion, positions this app in the market space that none of the other apps are even close to venturing into.
After taking in all the demographic information from our interviews and surveys, we did an affinity diagram (link to actual PDF of affinity diagram) to define what each user persona should exude. Once we figured that out, we were able to build two user personas of the ideal users that would be working with our app. This will allow us to concentrate on building the app for these specific users but will encompass the overwhelming majority of the users.
This design artifact helped to keep me on track of what to deliver and what is expected from our users. It helps tell a story and helps to sell the story of why the app does certain things. The stakeholder could just mull over the raw data but having something that is more visual than just data is easier for most to digest.
Taking into account the qualitative data that was received from our interviews, surveys and research, the team and I were able to affinity diagram in mural and arrive at multiple problem statements that were combined into one statement.
The Design Principles were taken from the qualitative and quantitative data from the interviews. These principles are what was used in the design process of the app.
Each member of the team built out a different section of the app and tested on potential users to get feedback on what areas worked and what areas did not. This led the team to have a discussion on what each area should look like and how it should function. It was then decided which wire-framing kit to use and to start developing each section that we were assigned to do.
This is where the app started to come together. After everyone finished their layouts I went through and made sure that they followed the Wire-framing kit. Changed fonts, adjusted images and fixed simple layout mistakes.
Once I ran through all the wire-frames and fixed the errors, I then linked everything up and tested the prototype to make sure all worked on areas were accessible.
6 participants were interviewed to test the first iteration of FixIY’s mid-fi prototype. These users were tested on Onboarding, Find a Project, Find a Pro and Profile settings sections to see if the app was on the right track and what things might trip up users. All tests were done remotely due to Covid. Users were given a list of tasks to complete and a question and answer section once they finished.
The majority of issues that user’s ran into were caused by the grey scale coloring not showing enough differentiation of buttons. It was evident that the UI of the app is very pertinent to how users intuitively move through an app. That being said, these issues were extremely small and didn’t cause any huge frustrations. The demographics of the users that were tested were:
Most of the test takers said that they did not realize in each section that the top portion was a navigation. So, we need more emphasis that the top is usable navigation. Maybe in the high fidelity wire-frames we add color to the text or a different color background.
Incentivize contractors to take ASAP Jobs by attaching an additional premium to the job when users toggle the selection
The library of projects will be filled by identifying and paying content creators on youtube to do write ups and instructions for their videos and licensing them on the platform.
Also explore the possibility of a social aspect to the app where users can post projects and share from Pinterest or youtube. DIYxp would have to be on a per-submission basis but you could make the projects filterable between DIY xp Projects and non. Pinterest was discussed as a possible integrated feature by users and internally.
Section should be built out and tested with a group that does not DIY and a group that has done bigger projects in the past and has used a contractor app/website to hire a pro.
Should allow professionals to be found and sorted by distance, specialty, ratings and cost per hour.
This section should be fully built, fixed and tested with two groups:
1. One that isn’t familiar with Instagram collections or Pinterest’s
2. The other who is an avid social media person
In the direct messaging portal, allow the accept button to show the current price value that’s being discussed about. (“Accept offer for $___”)
Perhaps, design a gauge that can add or subtract the numerical value of the current price in the DM Portal. This allows real time adjustments to discussed prices.
Expand upon the DIYxp process. Implement an “Expert DIYer” status that allows those users to take project jobs posted by other users. This will take some load off of contractors that don’t want to do smaller projects and create a
new market ecosystem and community of home improvers.