Provide discoverability to online resources to help new investors learn more about real estate investment.
Equity Multiple is a technology-enabled real estate company. It connects accredited individuals with commercial real estate. We redesigned the resources center to meet usability's best practices and Improve discoverability and suggestions of relevant articles tailored to users preference.
Feb- March 2020
Will Heydt-Minor- UX Writer
Peter Hsiao- Product Designer
Heather Sterman- UX Researcher
Soren Godbersen- VP Marketing&Communication
David Gonzalez- Principal Designer
We crafted our own design process and pivoted from the double diamond process to adjust to our needs during COVID-19 based on collaboration & rapid prototyping with short feedback loops.
01 Team Facilitation
I worked in a structured collaboration between my team and the VP of marketing, following up after check-in meetings. Confirming deadlines, managing changes in project scope, and defining the company's long term plans and making sure everyone is on the same page.
02 User Research
Part of creating a great human-centered design is advocating for the user's needs and ensuring that you are solving the right problem. I ensured that we were advocating for the user's need rather than our opinion.
Product Requirement, Existing Design system, Information Architecture, Person Development, Customer Journey Mapping, User flows, Rapid prototyping, Testing, Iterating.
The resources center's secondary navigation had poor choreography and did not resonate with the user's mental model. As well as the discoverability of articles had limited search preferences and filters did not curate the content to the user's preference.
KEY PAIN POINTS
01 Lack of Discoverability
02 Lack of Consistency
03 Confusing Hierarchy
04 Overwhelming amount of resources
The client provided us with several assets like user interview data and user personas
However, I pushed into conducting user interviews again because:
01 Problem Space Related Questions
They asked the user's questions specific to a certain kind of investment rather than questions about the problem space
02 Knowing the "Why"
There was not enough data since the data was gathered through a site survey, and there way not enough digging on the "Why"
Users who have made one or more investments with EM and are interested in EM's product releases. Our stakeholders agreed to provide us with a list of users who meet these criteria from survey's on their website.
Due to COVID-19, we were forced to shift to work remotely. This made it even more difficult to recruit target users needed.
Our target users were niche users and unattainable due to COVID-19, so we decided to pivot by zooming out and recruiting a more general target audience that will still give us the input we needed.
NEW TARGET AUDIENCE
01 Have experience in investing whether in the private or public market
02 Have invested in real-estate or any types of investment
Behavior- Draws on a variety of sources when he research
Goals- Diversify his investments
Pain Points- Frustrated by steep learning curve of investment websites
Needs- Trustworthy/informative sources
How might we help investors find trustworthy resources from experienced professionals to help learn more about real-estate investing?
I conducted usability testing on five users to observe the user's pain point and behavior in action. We wanted to understand how they currently find things.
01 Secondary navigation was not coherent and did not provide user feedback.
02 Users were unable to find resources to educate themselves about real estate investing.
The Double Diamond &
We crafted our process from the double diamond focusing on iterative testing and prototyping. We had our client actively collaborating throughout the process, and design studios were essential to making our process s and efficient.
After our kick off meeting, we started by understanding the problem space in more details by understanding the business goals and conducting primary & qualitative research.
Ideating & Testing
Facilitating a design studio with our stakeholders remotely was challenging. We transformed the idea we agreed upon into Mid-Fi prototypes and iteratively tested before moving to hi-fi, dividing wireframe creation between us as a team.
We tested our mid-fi prototypes and were able to get major insights from unsuccessful features we found within our mid-fi. Iterating these changes to hi-fi was shown to be successful with minor issues.
Validation of Assumptions
We brought transparency to the product's decision by communicating our solutions through Mid-Fi prototyping & testing. Based on our testing, we learned that the failure of an assumption is more significant than the validation.
Introduction about types of resources that can be found
Various filter option for discoverability of resources
Author bio pop-up for credibility of the articles
Suggestion of relevant articles based on chosen filters
Learning from our Mid-Fi testing, we wanted to make sure that the new features will aid users in discoverability of trust worthy resources and help provide value to the business.
Resources video became a button to open as a pop-up to prevent confusion of video being an introductory video about the resource page.
Various filter option for discoverability of resources was put on the top to allow a relaxed view of the articles two article page to prevent overwhelming the user.
Author bio pop-up for the credibility of the articles written in the resources center with contact info call to action to showcase the resources are from experts.
The suggestion of relevant articles based on the initial preferences users chose to provide relevant content and provide the user with relevant resources.
Takeaways From The Project
What would I do differently next time?
I wish we had more time to recruit niche users who know the site already well and used an analytics heat map to observe the user's behavior in their natural environment.
Championing the UX process and advocating for the user's needs
was key to creating features that provided value. Avoiding assumptions about the user was important in creating user-centric features that solve the user's problem.
After focusing on MVP, the next steps would be to test high-fidelity and iterate again based on findings, evaluate the information architecture of the site.