Helping Homeowners Every Step of the Way!

The Challenge:

  1. Encourage a homeowner to review feedback on the contractors they have engaged with through Networx.
  2. Encourage a homeowner to provide feedback on the contractors they have engaged with through Networx.
  3. Enable the Homeowner to easily submit another request.

The Problem:

​At the moment, we have a very basic Homeowner dashboard.  When the dashboard was original created, we believed a Homeowner would only use it once.  We are looking to launch a new product where we would walk the homeowner through their repair from start to finish.  This would require us to engage the Homeowner more and eliminate the concept of a one time use dashboard.

Discovery

Quantitative Research

I created a ​survey on Google Forms which was distributed via Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, LinkedIn, and targeted home improvement online communities. I will use the information to understand a current homeowners needs, and address pain points that can occur in the design and implementation of a homeowners' multi-use dashboard for contractor services.

Usability Testing - Round 1

I administered usability testing to analyze the current users perspective on the Networx dashboard. With the current system in place, users capabilities are limited. I devised 10 questions to test usability of the current product:
 
1.) Please schedule a contractor to perform an air conditioning repair.
2.) Did you find the scheduling feature to be helpful? Why or why not?
2.) How would you get a quote sent to you?
3.) How would you access your dashboard?
4.) How would you start a new project?
5.) How would you edit or cancel an existing project?
6.) How would you track a projects timeline?
7.) You want a more accurate quote, how would you go about submitting additional pictures to send to a contractor?
8.) How would you submit more information about a project?
9.) Let's say that you accidentally entered a wrong phone number, can you please edit your phone number to reflect your correct one?
10.) How would you edit a current contracting project?
Taking into consideration survey results, the focus group is adults between the ages of 25-38 (57.2% respondents):
Max - 32
Justin - 36
Bryan - 34
Audrey - 35
Kristian - 33
Nick - 38
Results show the following key data points:
Homeowners are either not aware or do not have access to a product that allows a homeowner to track contractor work progress, but would like to have this feature. Other areas of interest include:
1.) A clear and honest estimate (price/materials) within a dashboard-running list of materials and cost
2.) The ability to receive real-time updates on work (including pictures, arrival, estimated completion, and departure time)
3.) The ability to leave reviews for a contractor
4.) Ratings, contact information, and references for contractors
To avoid feature overload, we will only focus on these key features for now.

User Persona

Journey Mapping

I engaged in a journey mapping session with one of the users I spoke with, and they walked me through a somewhat unpleasant experience. This provided me an opportunity to see points of breakdown in the process in the contractor-homeowner working relationship.
Nick I Zoom Usability Testing
Audrey I Zoom Usability Testing

Usability Test Interviews

  • "The scheduling feature is slightly confusing. Is this going to send me a quote?"
  • "How do I sign into my account from the homepage? It doesn't seem very clear."
  • "This would be really great in an app. I'm always on my phone, not so much on my computer."
  • "I like how there is a cost guide. I wish that information was accessible right on the scheduling page."
  • "I really wish I could keep track of where in the process my contractor was, to maintain transparency."
  • "I wish the dashboard clearly stated how to start a new project and how to access an existing project."

Comparative Analysis - Rating System

The Ridesharing platforms Lyft and Uber are what the Networx rating system will be modeled after. Both offer a simple five-star review system, with room to leave feedback, along with what went right, and what went wrong. The addition of a contractors picture creates a more personal and humanistic touch to the ratings process.

Comparative Analysis - Real-Time Process Tracker

Lyft Driver Rating Interface
UBER Driver Rating Interface
Domino's Pizza Real-Time Tracker
Hivelocity Data Center Real-Time Tracker
The Networx Repair Process will be modeled after two successful real-time trackers. Domino's Pizza has utilized order tracking with success, and incorporates a rating system, and a visual representation via a progress bar. The data center Hivelocity utilizes real-time tracking for their server shipping business. They utilize a simple, four-step process, which allows for consumers to know exactly where in the process their order is.
 
Networx will pull from both of these products in the design for real-time status updates in the homeowner-contractor relationship.

Design

Low Fidelity Sketches/Wireframes

I initially considered doing a landscape process tracker, but when I spoke to users about this feature, they expressed worry over portrait lock mode on certain cell phones. This led to a redesign of this process to be a more simple layout that is a multi-screen approach. It was important to maintain the current look and feel of the Networx brand, while bringing a sense of excitement and freshness to the new features.

Iconography, Typography, and User Interface

  • The current homepage has a visually pleasing backsplash of a home living room. Usability testing validated that users found this visually pleasing, so the re-design carried this into other areas of the app.
  • Futura has a relaxed and distinct look. It provides easy readability and caters to a variety of users and consumers of the Networx product. It is both a viable headline font, but also good in body text.
  • The tracker utilizes positive language that makes the user feel like they have accomplished something. The use of a simple rating system that values user feedback provides an outlet for transparency and honesty.
  • Blue buttons convey a sense of intelligence, trust, and dependability, which are vital when it comes to a homeowner-contractor working relationship. The use of white text conveys clarity, promotes creative thought, and is synonymous with fresh beginnings (like how a repair on a house provides a new experience).

Sample high fidelity mock-ups

Contractor rating system-modeled allowing for a transparent and easy to use feedback method.
Users can book a contractor directly through the Networx site, keeping them engaged longer than before.
Progress tracker keeps users educated and aware every step of the project, avoiding less confusion and frustration.
A streamlined new project system gives a more detailed look at the users needs and gets them in touch with contractors quicker.

Check out the prototype

Below is a working MVP prototype, designed on Sketch and created with InVision. Since this is an early-stage prototype, functionality is limited to the necessary features. A second round of usability testing would be administered to validate further hypothesis and to see what additional features are required to create an immersive and enjoyable Networx user experience.

Next Steps

  • Further usability testing to further validate findings (progress tracker, contractor rating system).
  • User interviews with contractors to test for potential contractor side experience.
  • A contractor side app, allowing for communication between homeowner and contractor. 
  • Text alerts allowing for real-time progress texted directly to the homeowner.
  • Invoices managed through the Networx platform, allowing for a more honest and transparent homeowner-contractor business relationship.

Working Prototype