- Interaction Design
- Visual Design
Residents can pay rent online, submit maintenance requests, stay in touch with community events, get insured, pay utilities, track packages, and much more. While managers have all of the accounting and resident information in one secure place. Chez provides managers everything they need to be more efficient whether they need to quickly move in a resident, post transactions to the ledger, or automate renewal offer process.
I was part of a small team and was responsible for the research, interaction design, visual design, and branding.
With the goal of understanding our audience and designing with empathy, we talked to landlords, apartment managers and residents. We have heard stories about miscommunications all the time between residents and landlord/managers, lack of organization and inability to solve simple household problems. We wanted to solve some of these fundamental problems by designing a tool that would connect people, create a community and give a sufficient way of communication.
I used IDEO’s human-centered design thinking process for this project.
I started of conducting interviews with my own apartment manager and then met a few from surrounding properties.
Communication problems: Numerous number of emails and messages that are not easy to manage.
The hardship of making a simple announcement: Printing of hundreds of pages to make an announcement and sticking notices on hundreds of apartment doors.
No feedback: there is no way for the property manager to know if the tenant actually received the notice and has taken the required action on time.
After our initial meeting with the property managers, we wanted to hear from the tenants and hear what they had to say
No community attachment: No way to keep up with community events and updates, no way to communicate with neighbours.
The absence of management.
Hard to keep up with updates.
No an easy way to submit a service request.
No way to notify your manager about an emergency
Chez being a property management platform has two sides of users: the managers and the residents. First I have decided to focus on the managers. After looking through different apartment complexes, I came up with the below user persona.
After I had a better understanding of user goals and behaviours, I have listed some key features of the app below in order to create low-fidelity wireframes.
Common Area Reservation
Architectural Change Request
Over the course of 1 month, I tried several approaches and iterated continuously while learning from field research, usability testing, and industry experts. It was important for us to be constantly checking-in with both users and experts to make sure that the solution we were iterating towards was always solving the right/most relevant problems. Our vision began evolving into something tangible. The app's anatomy began to piece together.
From the learnings I started shaping the idea of a mobile application that serves up the need of the tenants. You shouldn’t need to dig through your emails or look for a paper announcement to find the answer to your question about the status of a request, provider, documents or community updates.
I interviewed a few users to understand their needs and discovered the moods of the app to further define the visual language. As a result, I created two distinctive mood boards to present the feelings targeting different user groups. The first one is quiet, clean and minimal which suits the objective of calmness and relaxation; Yet the second one is exciting, youthful and fast-paced which conveys passionate and positive moods.
After we decided which mood board and visual style to use, I applied it to the mockups and did a few design iterations. Then, I created the interactive InVision Prototype with following high-fidelity user interfaces.
I created a clickable prototype by using Invision and conducted more usability testing. With their easy sync features, it was super fast to make changes and show it again to new people to see if I had made it better or worse.
Even though my process includes testing on all the stages from paper prototype to wireframes and visual mockups, high-fidelity prototype is the most effective way to gain meaningful feedback. Once we had a prototype ready for use, we knew we needed to put it in the hands of our customers. Here is what we've learned:
This is something that has bothered users a lot, however, there is no search option at all. Tenants were not able to search for previous notifications and posts, nor their requests and messages.
To create a new request tenants need to go to request section and click a plus icon which triggers creating a new request. After some user testing, it became obvious that plus icon is not explanatory enough.
We also identified that there is no way for a user to go and make any changes to their requests.