Conceptualising a New Rental Service

Renting is a process that many people will experience in their lifetime and it can be a scary, stressful and overwhelming process. Having been a renter myself I was ecstatic when I was asked to collaborate with a small startup to help them conceptualise a new, more intuitive rental service.

Goals

Explore how the service might work and establish a proof of concept which could be used to help pitch the service to potential users and investors.

My Role

Investigate existing process, discover user pain points, conduct user interviews, information architecture, create prototypes.

current process

To get a better understanding of the details and events of the rental process I created a flow diagram. It shows a typical rental process in London. With the team I also created a persona matrix of tenants' needs, habits and motivations. I used this to create a storyboard to help visualise the founders ideas in context.

A sketch of current current user journey for renting
Next to the events are hypothetical dates next to certain sections to get an understanding of the time frames between events while thinking about the thoughts and feelings a renter might be having during this process.

conception

We identified a lot of needs and created a lot of ideas about what would meet those needs, but nothing about how they might physically be met or what the cost of those ideas were. We needed a way to think about how we might solve these problems without pigeonholing ourselves. A technique I sometimes use is to create placeholders which represent a typical activity, like logging in, on boarding, viewing a list of properties, or viewing a profile. These can then be printed, rearranged and used in discussions. They don’t contain any content but help remind people of the type of activity that takes place in the holistic journey, without being bogged down in the detail.

flow

Before creating a prototype good to have an understanding of how the prototype will behave which is why I created a flow diagram which shows the order and interactions of each screen. The act of creating the diagram isn't as important as the actual act of creating it. Creating it allows me to challenge my thoughts about what information should be asked for and when. I did the same for both Tenant and Agent personas.

Flow diagram of existing journey
(1) Moment when we must wait for the tenant to complete the application. They may decide not to proceed. What might prevent them from completing the application?

result

At such a high level of thinking the solution for the service went through so many possible outcomes. But without a way to visualise the service, it was difficult to quantify it’s value. Creating the prototype helped demonstrate the problem they were solving for and how it could be achieved. I was able to used this prototype to present to both stakeholders and potential investors.

Flow diagram of existing journey
Finished designs for prototype created in Sketch