Placester Concept App
UI/UX, User Research
Duration of Project:
1 Month, 2017
While Auto-Pilot was being developed, my UX team and I started thinking about the next app that Placester could develop.
The concept of this app is to build something that allows an accessible and efficient way for agents to sell houses, and understand and interact with their client all in one place. Since agents are always on the go, having this mobile app is more convenient.
Jump to Design Process or User Research
I started off brainstorming the most basic question: "What do real estate agents need?" Ultimately, to sell houses. How can they do that? By capturing clients, nurturing the relationships with their clients, and showing understanding for the client. I then listed down all the information agents needed under properties and client information.
I developed the idea of having an agent send their client a custom URL to a property. Once the Agent sees a listing that they would like to show a client, they can send it directly from the app to their client via text message. This is done through a custom url that takes the client to the listing. From that, they can choose if they "like," "dislike," or "save for later." This is a faster way to let the agent know what their client is looking for.
Flow for Custom URL
(Client View) An alert will be sent to the agent after the client's decision. From there, the agent can understand which properties work and which don't.
(Agent View) When an agent opens the app, there are two tabs: leads and listings. The listings is connected to the Multiple Listing Service so agents can easily see what properties are available in their region. They can then create an area page (custom URL) and send it to their clients in their contacts.
Clients are called leads. After tapping on a specific client in the home view, it goes to your client tab. Under this specific client, the agent can see an overview of the client information- including the properties they've liked/disliked and the properties they haven't reacted too yet.
Under the "Contact" tab, the agent can see the client's contact information and an area that is hooked on to their text messages.
Under the "Listings" tab, the agent can see the properties in the area that fit their specific client's property preferences
User Interviews & Research
During this project, I wanted to conduct some user interviews with real agents to get a better understanding of them and their work. I thought this would come in handy as we were designing the features for the Concept App because I wanted the app to be as useful and valuable to them as possible. I formulated questions in 3 categories:
1. Welcoming & Intro Questions
These questions were basic like "Where are you from?" ; "How often are you out and not in the office working?" to try and understand how the agent works in a day-to-day life.
2. Agent-Client Specific Questions/Job Related
These questions were to understand how an Agent keeps a client and what tools they use for work. Some examples are: "Walk me through the process of communication/outreach with a new lead" ; "What platform/tool (MLS database, Placester site, custom?) do you currently use?" ; "What are the biggest pain points of contacting your leads about listings?"
*Demo of prototype*
I then walked them through our wireframes to show the agent what the app was looking like.
3. Prototype Questions
This was to ask them about the demo and see what the agent liked and don't liked. What they thought was useful to them or not. Some examples were "What are your initial thoughts about this product?" ; "What might keep people from using this product?" ; "What was most appealing about this product?"
• Really surprised to learn that most agents use Android phones because of the great calendar functionality. This is great to hear since Placester is moving towards Material Design.
• For agents that work with sellers, understanding the market is a very important part of the process. They need the tools to fully understand the property’s value. What was suggested was maybe there could be a feature that allows Agents to track similar properties in similar areas and see what they sell for and how long it takes. This way, they can evaluate their client’s property more efficiently.
• Automated alerts are super important for Agents. The current MLS automatically sends an email to her clients once there’s a house on the market, but the agents I interviewed do not like the interface and the usability. In general, having less things to log into is always better for Agents. We could do something that mirrors the MLS with automated emails/alerts
• Agents are constantly on their feet- Have very little time to be at their computer checking listings, so many liked the idea of having this app to help them keep everything in one place and with them at all times.