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I designed a feature in the realestate.com app

to enable people to house hunt together.

I did this for a case study in 2017. It's called Collaborative Collections


Background

Searching for an apartment is never a fun experience, and something I found myself going through earlier in the year. I found that there was no easy way to share this task with another person, which got me thinking - how could I improve this experience?

Problem / Why

I was house hunting with a friend that also used the Realestate.com app, but we had no way of sharing our saved collections or collaborating on a collection of houses together. We often sent each other duplicate links or missed available places because we had lost track of what social media or messaging platform the other had shared it on. We ended up resorting to creating a shared spreadsheet of properties.

Concept / Ideate

I assessed the current flow of saving properties within the app, then sketched out two proposed flows where sharing an existing collection and creating a collaborative collection were possible.

I then created a lo-fi mock-up with the current pain points and improvements and showed the proposed solution to my current housemate.

2015 Wireframe shared collections feature
2016 Review layout Collaborative collections feature

Retrospective

As this was just a quick prototype of a solution to a problem that annoyed me personally - I didn't gather research or test with “real users”, thus I wouldn’t put the feature forward to be built without proper testing first.

If this was a "real" project, I would have set aside research time to talk to other users to see if they also experienced these pain points or perhaps uncover other problems which would be more beneficial to solve.

As a guerrilla UX research approach (without a budget) I would attend a few open houses in popular student/renting suburbs to gather feedback on the general user experience of the app. From this initial research, I could confirm or reject my feature idea. If the feedback was in favour of the feature, I would create an InVision prototype and repeat the research and testing with an iPad and phone, getting people to complete a few tasks that used the sharing or collaborating features while taking down notes. When the testing was complete I would then ask a few follow up questions to see if they found the feature intuitive and useful.