New UX Copy for a Vacation Rental Business
Providing clarity and support for homeowners
Understand the business goals of the language changes
Understand the homeowner frustrations with the language and interface
Finding similar examples in the market
User research and lofi prototype testing
Begin creating the voice chart
Refine all product voice artifacts
Finalize language choices in the high fidelity design
Creating a deign artifact, tone map, to help visualize why sections of Del Mar's voice spoke "softer" or "louder" in certain areas of the UX
We had the good fortune of interviewing multiple homeowners, some of whom have been with the company for years and some just a few months. Regardless of the time spent with the company, there were consistent patterns of concern and praise.
The interface was confusing
Operations standard of care and communication was inconsistent
Certain team members were the anchor for their trust in the company
Most homeowners enjoyed a good profit margin
Del Mar UX Research Case Study for more details
Side note: From this process, one critical "taboo" word emerged: property. The majority of home owners were upset when they got the impression they were assets and not treated on the same level as vacation guests. This led to avoiding the word property as much as possible, focusing on the words "house" and "home" more.
The User, Jeff
Location Cape Cod
Not worry about the state of his home
Have a better understanding of how much his home is earning
Be informed about any pressing issues with property and be updated with the bare minimum about how the matter is being dealt with
Jeff has been a homeowner partnered with Del Mar for just about a year and a half. He has faith in their operations team to deal with situations as they arise but is confused by the homeowner portal experience.
Due to his educational background and upbringing, he can read well above the 5th grade level and has a good grasp of basic financial statements.
Understanding how much is being deducted from their home earning (and when)
Not confidently knowing when their house is available
Being blindsided with large invoices and not fully understanding the story
I was fortunate that a brand voice had already been designed and refined
Leveraging the personal connections homeowners had with Del Mar operations team members was the key to making the language more personalized and taking advantage of the warm, dependable and premium tones of Del Mar's voice.
To help the homeowners, collaboration with the stakeholders and to keep track of the product's voice and tone, I created a voice chart to better understand how to place the language.
While the entire homeowner experience changed, there were three critical sections that had the largest impact on the homeowner day-to-day interaction
The previous design was focused on capturing as much detail as possible. This created a behavior of emailing the support team directly, causing operational blockage. To break the cycle, we focused on an intuitive interface that asked the bare minimum from homeowners to get the work order started.
Research showed the message being received rather than being sent was more valuable content to the user experience.
The biggest difference in the Del Mar redesign was the introduction of the dashboard. This was the homeowner "base of operations" allowing them the option to checkin on the status of jobs, updates to their finances or any pending tasks that needed their approval.
The goal with the empty state message wasn't to encourage further action it was to emphasize there was nothing left to do and that was a good thing.
Perhaps the most difficult section of the entire redesign. The challenges came from Del Mar's unique payment system. Certain information was rolled into the next month depending on operations and money owed to Del Mar.
The quickest solution was to provide clarity around these discrepancies with a popup message.
There was an overwhelming positive response to the new UX design.
"Thanks to Raivix's outstanding work, our Vacation Rental Homeowner portal has received overwhelming positive feedback from our users. Homeowners have praised its ease of use, visually appealing design, and comprehensive functionality. This has not only enhanced their experience but has also solidified our position as a trusted provider in the vacation rental industry."
Luke Chapman, CEO of Del Mar Vacations
Part of the design artifacts/documents that were handed off was a tone map, to help visualize the language in the product experience for Del Mar.
While I'm satisfied with my language choices, I wish I could have approached collaboration differently.
The financial portion of the redesign could have been developed a bit further with more time and conversations with Del Mar stakeholders. For some sections of the interface, legal concerned trumped user needs when it came to the language. I believe a compromise could have been reached to have slightly more consistent content.