APARTMENTGUIDE.COM - Visual Refresh

ApartmentGuide.com is the bread and butter to the RentPath network but hasn't gone through a visual refresh for over 18months and was stagnating and falling behind competitors.

OBJECTIVE: Catch up to our competitors by winning at design and providing the best possible experience

ROLE: Co-Lead Product DESIGNER

PHASE 1: RESEARCH

Prior Team had done research several months back so we decided to use it and head straight to designing

Methodology
6 participants from across the U.S., 3 males, 3 females were interviewed and user tested
Remote moderated interviewing and user testing took place from Sep 24 to Oct 9, 2015
All participants were actively looking for a rental property
Adrienne was the only participant that found an apartment, while research was being conducted
Participants were recruited via usertesting.com
Initially 13 users took a remote, unmoderated, 15 min user test
The most relevant testers were invited to one hour moderated sessions resulting in the final 6 participants
An interview/ testing script was used and customized for each participant based on their search experience in the first, unmoderated session
Participant details provided below
Dustin Guinee lead the research project with the assistance of Yan Hu and consultation with Ashley Tudor

Participants
3 participants made below 70k a year and 3 participants made more than 70k a year
There was no discernible difference between users of different income levels
Price was still a dominating factor for all participants 

Amber
Interviewed on Sep 24, 2015
Female, 24, makes under $70k, moving to get out of her parents house, her budget is $1300 for a 1 bedroom

  • She wants to live in Brookhaven, GA because it's got more of family neighborhood feel, is a safe area and has decent prices
  • She has been looking for 4 months, wants to move by March 2016
  • She currently lives with her parents, post college and has fears and safety concerns to move out on her own
  • She wants to stay in the same city
  • She prefers looking at individual apartment websites and doesn’t trust large listing sites
  • She likes Zillow’s user experience

Marvison
Interviewed on Sep 25, 2015
Male, 23, makes less than $40k, looking for a 2 bedroom for his himself, mother, brother and sister

  • He is looking in the Long Beach, CA area with a $1300 budget
  • Finding a safe area for his family is very important
  • He spent a lot of time on Trulia looking at the school and safety ratings
  • He didn’t trust Trulia’s crime data because he’s live in the area a long time and knows that it is more dangerous than Trulia claimed with it’s “low crime” rating
  • On the day of the interview Marvison and his mother were signing papers for an apartment they found on craigslist

Adrienne
Interviewed on Oct 2, 2015
Female, 25, makes less than $40k a year, married with a child, moving in the same city of Escondido, CA

  • Looking for 1 bedroom under $1050
  • They have a tight budget and she wants a place that is clean and rat free. 
  • She needs a month to month lease if her husband gets the new job he’s trying to get
  • She uses craigslist as her primary search tool and only contacts properties that are a day old.
  • On the day of the interview she had already found an apartment on craigslist in Escondido, CA

Adam
Interviewed on Oct 8, 2015
Male, 27, $100k+ moving from Tucson, AZ to Trevose, PA for a job relocation. 

  • His primary concern is finding a 1 bed apartment close to his work. 
  • Reviews and good photos are critical when searching out of state.
  • Been looking for 3 months
  • He knows the neighborhood because it is close to his new job but doesn’t know much about the area

Corrie
Interviewed on Oct 8, 2015
Female, 50, Annual household income $70k, looking for new 2 bed apartment with husband and dog in Fort Meyers, FL. 

  • Looking to move in the next few months. Budget $1200 - $1500
  • Her current landlord is selling the apartment she's living in at the end of the year and she is reluctantly looking for a new place to live that allows dogs, preferable in the same neighborhood near her and her husband's jobs.

Robert
Interviewed on Oct 9, 2015
Male, 48, $150k, looking to move into a cheaper apartment with his wife and cat in Portland, OR. 

  • Been looking for a 2 bed for under $3700 for 3-4 months, current lease ends at the end of November
  • He’s looked at 4 different places
  • He knows many different neighborhoods he’s interested in and likes his current neighborhood but prices are going up too high. 
  • He wants to live in the urban area, not the suburbs, that is walkable with plenty of local amenities
  • He is a rental property owner and has 10 units he rents out

 

PHASE 2: Ideation & CONCEPTUALIZATION

First step of this process was to get inspired and see what was out in the playing field. We started with using an Invision Boards to gather and share ideas. We did a competitor analysis as well as looking out side of the normal set players in our the industry. Dribbble was a huge inspiration but we found several hidden gems in smaller lesser known startups.

Next step was to identify what part of the site we wanted to tackle first and the listing cell being the main contributor to what people see and ultimately decide what place they want to live in we started sketching out ideas and brought them into a digital version in Sketch 3. Here is how we started from original to wireframe to several variations before finalizing the design for testing.

This is one version of the listing cell we decided to go with for first round of testing.

PHASE 3: User Testing

Here are some screenshots of what went into user testing.

 

PHASE 4: Wireframes & Visual Design


APARTMENTGUIDE.COM - Compare

Apples to Apples To Oranges?

Part of the visual refresh there was an opportunity to redesign how people can compare different properties and use that in the decision process.

OBJECTIVE: CREATE An Experience for users to compare up to 4 properties side by side.

ROLE: PRODUCT DESIGNER


APARTMENTGUIDE.COM - My Places

I see, you see, we all see

Part of the visual refresh there was an opportunity to redesign how people can compare different properties and use that in the decision process.

OBJECTIVE: CREATE AN EXPERIENCE FOR USERS TO Create boards and be able to share them with friends and family

ROLE: PRODUCT DESIGNER

PHASE 1: RESEARCH

Coming Soon

PHASE 2: Sketching

PHASE 3: WireFrames

Coming Soon

PHASE 4: Visual Design