Sensing an untapped market, the founders of Storage by Owner hoped to utilize their connections as real estate agents to provide win-win situations for both listers and renters.
Our discovery process was kicked off with interviews with the key stakeholders. During the interviews, we learned who Storage By Owner was, what their goals were with the web application, and what they thought their competitive advantage would be.
After conducting the stakeholder interview, we dove into performing a competitive analysis. While the direct competition was scarce, we learned a lot about the market by looking at several indirect competitors.
The results of the interviews and competitive analysis culminated in the creation of a mood board that explored various directions for the look and feel. Since Storage by Owner was a startup, they did not have strong branding in place and the mood board helped us solidify the foundation for the look and feel of the brand.
When approaching the UX strategy for Storage By Owner, we first took into account what potential users would be looking for from the web app. For users who wanted to list their space, the site was architected in a way that made the process simple and straightforward. For users looking for space, we planned out quick and easy ways to jump into the property search, no matter where they landed on the site.
During the wireframe phase, we utilized a concept known as chunking to break the registration into smaller, digestible steps. Studies have shown that by breaking things down, users are less likely to feel overwhelmed and are more willing to complete a signup flow (and list their space).
Another area we focused on during the wireframe phase was the account management pages. While being able to manage information such as billing, rental histories, and property details are not the sexiest parts of the site, we recognized how important well-planned account management pages would be for providing an continuously delightful experience for power users.
During the design phase, we applied the design styles from the mood boards to the wireframes. The typography, colors, and imagery were all hand-selected to convey friendliness and trust to those using the platform.
The Storage By Owner web application was built on a custom .Net platform for ultimate scalability for future growth. We did not use any pre-built modules for the site, giving us free reign on the design and functionality of each feature, which allowed us to build the website exactly how Storage By Owner envisioned it without restrictions.
One nifty feature we integrated during development was geolocation by IP address. When users initially loaded a page, the site will ask them to enable their location settings. Once this has been accepted, the user’s zip code will automatically be filled in the location field, giving them one less step to complete as they search for a space to rent.
On the listing results page, we also programed a wide variety of filters to help user find the ideal storage space for their items, making the search easier and the results more precise.
Testing this web application was an intense process!
When conducting our tests, we needed to test from multiple zip code locations to make sure that the location settings were working properly. We also needed to make sure all of the tagging and filters for a storage space were working correctly to ensure accurate search results.
In addition, we had to make sure the registration flow, rental listing process, rental request processes, and payment collection (with recurring payments) were bulletproof before fully launching the website for the public to use.
After thoroughly testing the site on multiple devices and browsers, we were confident things were working as they should, scheduled launch date, and launched the web app live for the sharing economy community to enjoy.
Storage By Owner’s web application gives their startup a solid foundation and sets them up for success as they grow and acquire users. With a user-friendly design that conveys ‘next-door’ friendliness and trust, it’s now a piece of cake for users to transform their spare space into passive income, thanks to Storage by Owner.
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