Uncovering Homeowner Behavior & Patterns
In addition to my UX Writing role during the Del Mar redesign, I assisted with the UX research phase of the project.
My process and involvement in the larger scope of the UX research was focused on three stages:
Hypothesis: Outlining our assumptions, AKA homeowners frustrations were happening because of overbearing UI and and weak UX.
Conduct: Taking notes and asking additional questions during user interviews and testing.
Synthesis: Organizing user data in an affinity map and categorizing the information. Helping form the insights that emerged from the process.
Note: there were several stakeholder interviews and notes put into consideration but my role with that stage was negligible so the focus will primarily be on user insights.
The assumption that started the project was, broadly speaking, user frustration. Del Mar was getting too much pushback from homeowners about the user experience and interface. It wasn't clear or informative and homeowners felt the quality didn't align with cost of property care services.
This was causing homeowners to avoid the platform and constantly contact the operations team for multiple details. This in turn created information bottle necks and a strain on the operations team.
1) To assist Del Mar operations and design an experience and interface the homeowners would be more likely to use, we needed to uncover behaviors and patterns.
2) Design an experience that lived up to their expectations as best as possible.
3) Testing the hypothesis and learning more details about user frustrations.
We wanted to uncover the behavior and motivations behind the homeowners. There were a number of questions but the most helpful were focused on
-How often they visit & use the platform
-What is their typical goal/mission when using the platform
-How often they use the job request and message feature
-Their thoughts on the account set up feature
-Their impression of Del Mar as an organization and
those that they interacted with the most
This process, in with an continuous synthesis process, produced a refined persona, Jeff.
The User, Jeff
Jeff as 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.
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
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
Data was organized by
1) The interview and testing session
2) Specific parts of the experience and interface
3) The individual interviewed
From there, the negative and positive comments were weighed with consideration of the platform's limitations, Del Mar operational capacity and the timeline of the project.
The research revealed a deeper frustration: a lack of white glove service. Some homeowners felt somewhat offended by the original interface with it feeling too much like a chore, being sent to deal with a screen instead of talking to a person to deal with the issue. One of the key motivations behind the redesign was to help Del Mar operations. To act on homeowner's wishes would only increase Del Mar's issues.
The compromise for most of the UI was an interface with fewer clicks and questions. the exception was the account set up, with it being broken down into smaller bite sized interactions to make it more "digestable."
We were fortunate to have cooperative users who volunteered a wealth of information. It would have been a great "nice to have" to test a more flushed out high fidelity prototype for mobile, seeing how quickly users could look and understand the information given to them on their day-to-day screens.