EveryHome is a startup in Seattle, Washington focused on improving the home-buying process.
They challenge the traditional approach with the premise that every home is for sale — not just ones listed on the market — and provide a way for home seekers to connect with owners via their MatchMailer product. Users can search unlisted homes and get information about them that they can’t find anywhere else. Homeowners also can use the website to see who’s interested in their home, allowing them to gauge interest without listing their home.
Inspired by the growing volume of real estate being purchased by overseas buyers, specifically Chinese, Everyhome initially hired us to design a version of their website and create an app that would target these buyers.
After our initial meetings, my team set out to better understand the home-buying process from both the business and user side. To learn how the business worked, we conducted stakeholder interviews and domain research. The team also researched the company’s business model to get a better idea of the challenges and immediately noticed the need for higher quality content. During this research we made another key discovery: the company’s revenue model relies heavily on a high level of engagement from users, which is inhibited by the lack of content available to them.
We quickly set up another meeting with our client to discuss our findings and proposed to instead focus our efforts on the two areas where they were lacking the most — content and engagement. The client agreed and we swiftly made the change, but it shifted our timeline back a few days from three weeks to a little under 2.5 weeks to complete the whole process.
We conducted eight user interviews with participants ages 26-44. Our focus was to discover why, where, and how homebuyers approached their home search. The interviewing process spanned two days.
Using a wealth of data from the interviews, we created an affinity diagram to help us digest and categorize everything that we had discovered.
At the end of the exercise, we pinpointed core user values and beliefs to guide the design of the mobile prototype. Key Takeaways
From our combined user research we created a persona that represents our target user.
Our persona helped us keep in mind the users’ goals, motivations and pain points throughout the design process.
With an idea of our app’s features in mind, the team did a design studio to quickly come up with ideas.
We created storyboards of some user scenarios to help us further visualize the problem and test our proposed solutions. These storyboards also proved helpful in clarifying and supporting our design solution to the client in our final pitch meeting.
We rapidly prototyped our first version so that we could push to conduct our initial usability tests. We used Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Invision to create these screens. Testing early helped us to validate our design and shaped our following versions.
In the interest of time, we used usertesting.com to conduct three usability tests on the first version of our prototype.
We wanted to test on our prototype as early as possible to make sure our idea for the design was headed in the right direction. Since it was our first time using the service, we weren’t sure how it would go, but great feedback and the users’ responses helped to validate our concept. We did, however, experience some issues with our line of questioning, which we noted for our next set of usability testing.
User Feedback: Since it was in such an early phase of the design, there weren’t a lot of changes that needed to be made; just a few things needed tweaking to increase clarity, such as adding an onboarding screen. There were some issues related to the questions we asked which we fixed in the following usability test.
We used Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Axure to create our hi-fidelity wireframes/clickable prototype and used EveryHome’s current style to direct our design choices.
On version 2 we added an onboarding tutorial to give more instruction to the user. We also built out more screens to show more of the app’s capabilities.
On version 3 we made changes based on our user feedback and created higher fidelity mockups. This prototype has not yet been tested. Our changes included:
Though untested, we presented our v3 prototype to our client and it was well received. Our next steps, were we to continue on this project, would be: