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Kery
mauvais

Case Study: Pavemet

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Exploring the problem of rental listing scams and determining a digital solution focusing on millennials, who are affected most by this issue.

Timeline:

10 Weeks 

Role:

End to End UX Designer

Tools Used: 

Figma, Adobe Illustrator, Clip Studio Paint

Problem Space

The problem space that I took on was rental listing scams and how they affected millennials in particular. For several decades, rental listing scams have affected many people with individuals reported to have lost as much as over $350,000 in just a report of 2021 alone, which has seen an increase from the previous year. Today, shopping for rentals can be done online. As a result, popular platforms like Facebook Marketplace have become an easy target for scammers looking to take advantage of inexperienced renters seeking affordable housing. Even with articles providing preventative advice, more than five million people have been reported to become victims, including adults at the age of 19-29 who are reported to be 42% more susceptible to being scammed.

Methodology: Design Thinking Method

I chose this approach because to effectively ideate into a strong solution to test with, I need to take time to empathize with a demographic experiencing a problem by defining an issue and have a solid grasp what those needs are which can only be done by a human centered approach.  

Empathize

Define

Ideate

Prototype

Test

Secondary Research

The research gave me an opportunity to have a breadth of aspects within the problem space for flexibility to see what would be the most compelling direction to take for that problem. These are highlights from that research...

According to Dwellsy's survey, over 60% of renters interviewed had recently encountered some kind of fraudulent or suspect activity on online rental platforms.1

60 %

Two-thirds of scam victims in a Two-thirds of scam victims in a 2015 FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority)”survey reported experiencing negative emotional consequences specifically as a result of the fraud. “That ranged from severe anxiety, to sleep disorders, depression, PTSD,” says Christine Kieffer, senior director at the FINRA Investor Education Foundation. “So these are real trauma symptoms.”2

Kery
mauvais

(Preliminary) HMW

(Preliminary) HMW

From the research I was able to create a question about the problem while thinking about the target demographic, what impact to create for them and how they could benefit from it. It went as such:

“How might we help young adult renters avoid becoming victims of rental listing scams so that they can have a trustworthy financial experience?”

?

Hypothesis

Here's the hypothesis I formed...

“I believe that young adult renters from the age of 18-42 experience falling victim to rental scams due to a lack of experience to navigate with and being privy to listings through non-verified and faulty means.” 

Having this be established as my hypothesis will help me determine if this would be validated or if there is information that I was not aware of that will shed light on my process. 
 

Key Research Insights

After performing primary research by way of interviews, I compiled raw data and organized them into sets of information categorized into behaviors, motivations, and pain points which then were further categorized by putting them into groups of themes... 

 

Key Themes:

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Visibility and omission of information

Trust in mediums of information

Examining listings

Affected by communications/interaction

Aftermath outlook

(Revised) HMW

After analyzing insights from my interviews, I identified a compelling theme that encompassed those insights, and I formed a revised HMW question. The question goes as follows...

“How might we help young adult renters avoid becoming victims of rental listing scams so that they can have a trustworthy financial experience by being presented with as much visibility of information as possible?”

Kery
mauvais

Persona

After developing a HMW from insights, I was able to create a persona that embodies what my target demographic needs and wants. This helps me conceptualize an array of responses to help satisfy those needs.

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1 

Opportunity Selection (Experience Mapping)

I was able to implement what those needs are into a journey of that user encountering that problem. With that I’m able to break that down into stages that will help me figure out where the opportunity for design intervention can appear for that answer to address that need.

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 User Stories

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Next was creating a list of what those needs are. Once I start grouping them based on common threads between them, I formulated epics that naturally appeared. I now have a feature for my target user to interact with that addresses those key needs.

Task Flow

With determining my key epic, or feature(s), I now had to make a task flow for the user when experiencing the app. Doing this process helped me visualize that experience while also having a foundation of how to carry out those interactions.  

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OS (iOS or Android)

 I selected iOS as an operating system for my app because I saw it as an opportunity to create an app using a different UI pattern that I’m not only unfamiliar with and  learn to understand but am aware that this OS is the majority of what digital users have so it made sense to make it for that market. This would impact the ideation of the UI and UI inspiration as well. 

UI Inspiration Board

Before sketching, I created a board of inspiration for me to pull from when compiling early designs of my app. It was categorized into different sections that would make up the layout of the app.

I also decided on a typeface to use for the textual elements. 

Sketches 

Now that I was able to develop a task flow and source inspiration, I went to ideating what that app would look like by creating Lo-Fi wireframe sketches. This took time to iterate and reiterate since I had to develop exploratory sketches and solution sketches.

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Wireframes

Creating the grayscale wireframes helped me have an early-stage product to work with to visualize elements for the experience I want to provide. This led to making prototypes from these wireframes that would eventually be tested. 

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User Testing Highlights

I gathered participants who tested the prototype of my app in its Mid-Fi state to focus on the functionality and gather insights. There were also multiple stages of testing that gave me an opportunity to not only apply changes to that product, but to test it once more to see how those improvements are received.

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Prioritization Matrix

I proceeded with creating a chart that helped me organize feedback points within a system to help me prioritize to help sustain progress of not just the iteration of the app, but also the overall process in general.

Round 1

Round 2

UI Inspiration Board (Expanded) 

When approaching the UI board, I had to remind myself that I was building an app primarily geared for iOS. So with that in mind, I had to revisit human interface guidelines for iOS and observing different UI patterns. This helped me move forward with creating a strong Hi-Fi design for my app.

Mood Board

Once the mood board was created, it will play a key role in forming the identity of my brand. This also involves adjectives and discerning what applies to that and what doesn't. Next was a multi-step process in determining my brand colors. 

Photo dump

Curate

Use the colors to create neighborhoods or groupings of colors 

Color extraction

Settle on a grouping of colors

Use that grouping of colors to determine what my brand colors are

Make the decision on whether I want to use 1 neutral and 2 pops or 2 neutrals and 1 pop

Use the brand colors to create shades and tints from them for the color injection phase 

Brand Identity Development

When injecting colors into my wireframes, I explored a set of different iterations to see how certain color relations would appear that would reflect the brand while also be conducive to the experience I want my target user to have. This process included experimenting, consistency, hierarchy, and patience in determining combinations of colors appropriately fitting the look and feel of the brand’s identity.

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Mid Fi Wireframes before Injection

Color Injection #1

Color Injection #2

Color Injection #3

Color Injection #4

Color Injection #5

Hi-Fi Wireframes

After exploring iterations from color injecting, I found a combination that illustrated a look and feel that reflected the brand within the app through this Hi-Fi version. 

App Name

Of course I had to decide on what the name of the app would be after brainstorming ideas for names that embodied what those key adjectives were. After narrowing down a list of names, the name most fitting for the app, became "Pavemet"

Pavemet: Paving a way for renters to search for homes while ensuring trust in communicating with or assessing the people they meet. 

Wordmarking 

With developing a brand there had to be a conceptualization of a wordmark. This would help visualize the brand in a user facing capacity through typography and potentially creating an icon to go along with it.

App Icon

With a memorable brand I wanted to have an icon that was representative of the values that my brand has but also the concept that the app goes by considering what the key user needs is and acknowledging that by arriving at an image that can be captured and recognizable.

Prototype 

Next I started refining my Hi-Fi prototype by making revisions on the functionality of the app and addressing areas for improvement from previous feedback delivered. This step helped create the app feel more refined and complete in facilitating a more realized user experience of all of the past aspects during this design process.

UI Library

After creating the Hi-Fi iteration of my app, what was next was for me to start developing the UI library of my app to have more effective understanding of UI patterns and layout that is needed for a sound and effective user experience by grasping a solid foundation of what makes up user interfaces.

Accessibility Concerns

With developing the app, it was important to me as a designer that I took into consideration the accessibility of an app. so I took the time to make sure that the UI decisions that I made were inclusive to a variety of users that would engage with this app. When doing this I proceeded with using a plugin that would allow me to determine the accessibility of the contrasting colors from my selected user interface.   

Product Marketing Site Preview

To get a feel for how I could further push the presentation and implementation of my app is to create a product marketing website that helps communicate the key messaging of what my brand entails through the app in a substantial way that also is mindful for an effective user experience.

Multi-Platform Challenge

With thinking about another platform for this mobile app to exist, I have to think back to my persona, Nashali Bruenjes, and imagine a likely scenario that would determine that platform.  

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Due to her information already gathered from her behaviors and motivations, I decided to have the alterative platform be a site existing on a desktop browser.  

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Reflecting on Challenges

I found that my solution was effective in providing renters visibility of information for trustworthy financial decisions with features like viewing information about a potential landlord and their properties.

It was challenging to ignore the thoughts that were solution oriented until I saw the fruits of my research by exploring the problem and naturally arriving at a solution that addressed needs within that problem space. 

Other challenges included creating color groupings to help me identify my brand colors and grasping the scope of the project to appropriately gauge how much progress is needed in a timely manner. 

Key Project Learnings

An effective HMW to create focus for a honed in problem at hand affecting a group of individuals.

The due diligence required to create a brand identity and how that affects crafting a Hi-Fi wireframe that is effective, reflective of the brand, and facilitates a sound user experience.  

Implementation of user interface patterns and the understanding of conventional patterns offering a quality user experience.  

Design Impact/Future Thinking

I spent some time reflecting about the impact of my design choices. Certain aspects came up that I took into consideration...

How does your product change or create new ways for people to interact?

Relationships that can be built from the common grounds between tenants looking for homes and landlords looking to find new tenants if common values are found from reviewing information on the profiles of landlords.

What would mass scale usage of your product reveal or cause?

If there was a wide reception to the app it would reaffirm some thoughts I’ve had which were the paradigm shift of people’s relationships to individuals that they receive services, goods, and resources. Not only that, if an app like this were to gain popularity it would then help assist solving the very same problem that I was solving which is rental listing scams. Ideally there would be very little to no cases of individuals falling victim to these types of incidents. 

Next Steps

Implement additional features that were not included on primary task flow.  

Brainstorming how app would approach onboarding 

Use experience of this case study to create system for future UX case studies. 

Contact

Always looking forward to new and exciting opportunities. Let's connect!

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