Product Design, Branding
Remodelmate helps homeowners love where they live by connecting them with reliable, quality-driven contractors and guiding and managing their project. In November 2017, I joined the team to lead the product redesign and company rebrand to make the customer-facing product flow more intuitive, cohesive and ready for automation.
After understanding our user base the customer base,we were able to sort out challenges and the main goal for the user:
How can we make the renovating process a transparent, approachable and frictionless experience?
After speaking with Chad (founder) about product milestones and company performance, we outlined company goals and metrics for success:
How can we increase user conversion through the online product rather than through calls?
The Team and My Role
The team included the founder/CEO, a developer and myself. I specifically worked on product design/branding for Remodelmate including research, branding, wireframes, flows and hi-fi mockups.
Starting off we decided to interview several past and current customers to get an idea of what website visitors and believers in the brand felt. We also conducted interviews with people who thought about Remodelmate but changed their mind. This helped us learn about what worked, why it did and what gaps needed to be filled in the user flow.
Who's our customer
Based on Remodelmate's past revenue we found our target users are people middle-aged or higher with disposable or joint income, who either own a house, townhome or condo. After speaking with users, we found a couple of common painpoints:
- They don't have time to micromanage or attempt DIY major home projects.
- They might be hesitant to trust contractors due past experiences of faulty work or incompleteness.
- They needed more clarity of the project scope and Remodelmate's role.
Based on these learnings we decided to approach the design with clear communication, experiences to build trust and ways for users to keep up with their project.
User Flows to Find Opportunities
We broke down the process and how users interacted with the product, starting from their initial search for a contractor to project completion to find pain points and opportunites for improvement.
After learning that many of our customers were being pulled into Remodelmate through videos/images on social media, I thought it best to engage them through media content on the site. This lead to a gallery-like concept we called 'Get Inspired', a case-study feature designed to increase conversions on the site with an engaging and transparent looks into past completed projects.
Another opportunity I found to make users more likely to convert was making the process of submitting a request for a project more frictionless. Instead of a standard form like before we allowed users to be able to 'build' as much of their project as they can in the shortest amount of steps possible. I focused on what we called "Project Builder" to find ways of streamlining the path of requesting a project to generating an invoice and purchase.
I started off sketching rough ideas for a simple, easy-to-use and modern layout for the website.
Having a clean and open layout was important for clarity and ease-of-use, we planned to approach redesign to be as concise as possible to meet the user needs of fully understanding the product.
Designing a System from Scratch
A key part of this project was defining styles and components to be used throughout. I did this early on to help us think about how we planned to be consistent and to create recognizable patterns. We iterated as necessary as we progressed through different parts of the product.
Early Explorations and Iterations
These are a few early iterations of the Get Inspired and Project Builder features. Changes were made over time to improve usability, clarity
and consistency for users (and we're still learning more now!)
See Iterations/Early Versions here
Opening up to users with 'Get Inspired'
We decided to increase transparency and build trust through an engaging experience of content. The Get Inspired feature showcases past client work done by Remodelmate complete with photos, videos, timeframes, price ranges and contractor info. This was especially fitting as most customers spoke of being pulled in by media content.
Beginning a project
By using the Project Builder feature, users can describe their needs, choose contractors within their budget, schedule timelines and submit their request to begin renovating. Users can see who's available and qualified contractors instantly, as well as plan for multiple contractors.
Optimizing for Scalability
One critical challenge of the Project Builder was collecting information in a way that would be relevant for the customer and contractor while keeping automation of the platform in mind. After several explorations we found that quantifying different jobs (at the right of the screen) would execute this well.
To remain flexible and customer-centric, we made it possible for customers to input other information to give specific details to their chosen contractor.
What About Multiple Contractors?
One problem we encountered in Project Builder was when a user's project needed more than one contractor (this is especially true for larger projects like building a home). We took a step-by-step approach to keep the user in sync, by first notifying the user of a need for multiple contractors and allowing them to select their contractor for each large segment of the project.
- Don't sacrifice clarity for simplicity - Several of the first iterations lacked descriptions or other indicators to let users what part of the process they were in or what they could do. This proved problematic as people who knew little about Remodelmate had trouble understanding context.
- Design guidelines are a must - This allowed for quicker iterations with reusable components and helped maintain consistency throughout the design.
- Sync up with other parts of the product - It was important that we asked questions about how the design would work well from the engineering side and the contractor side. Certain trade-offs were necessary (like choosing to standardize job types to make sure that we could still automate quote generation.)
We shared these designs with customers as well as new team members. What was once just a duo of the CEO and I expanded to a full product team, including a engineering team and marketer who were all brought on board after sharing product progress. After majority of these designs were completed, Chad went on to raise over $500,000 in Spring 2018 during Remodelmate's seed round by pitching to investors with these designs alone.