AptAmigo is a Chicago-based, luxury apartment finder service. Their target users are young, tech savvy, professionals who have previously used brokers and fall under the DIY category. After spending three weeks with a UX research team, AptAmigo solidified their vision to be a self-serve apartment brokerage with a deep knowledge in renter preferences. They later approached my three-person UI team to complete a responsive redesign of their website and improve their tour scheduling experience.
The UX team provided wireframes focusing on the optimized booking process for scheduling apartment tours. We worked closely with the team to better understand the key findings from their research.
Initial rounds of user testing led the UX team to design a simplified filtering and scheduling process with the features below:
After a thorough onboarding from the UX team, we wanted to learn more about the AptAmigo brand and the competing services in the market. The Co-founder and Head of Product felt their site had an outdated tone for their tech-savvy userbase. To brainstorm a new visual direction, we facilitated a 20 second “gut” test and brand voice exercise.
“Finding an apartment is stressful. We want to make our service aesthetically simple, beautiful, and empowering for our users.”
Co-founder & CEO, AptAmigo
AptAmigo aimed to reduce an overwhelming amount of options by providing an experience that resembled getting help from a friend. Before landing on a visual direction, we explored the websites of direct competitors including Zumper, Zillow, and Very Apt. We also searched for out-of-category inspiration in brands like Airbnb and OpenTable.
Overall, competing websites suffer from cognitive overload due to an abundance of filters, search functionality, and overbearing questionnaires. After seeing our brief visual analysis, our client liked the luxury component from Very Apt’s home page, the use of white space from Zumper’s search page, and the friendly, warm imagery from Airbnb.
Each member of my team created individual style tiles to present to our client. I designed three contrasting interface concepts that encompassed luxury, friendliness, and engagement.
The client felt my first and second style tiles resonated the most with their brand. They enjoyed the engaging color palette from the first, whereas thought the second palette was overly luxurious. For my next iteration, the client wanted to incorporate aspects of the first and second tiles. Although they appreciated the switch from a cityscape photo to an interior image of an apartment, they asked to avoid the use of people and lifestyle imagery. They also wanted to incorporate the thin line iconography from the second tile.
Our client wanted our final designs to be purposeful and research-driven with three key questions in mind:
To answer these questions, we conducted a few more tests with Chicago professionals in the 24-35 year old demographic. Here’s what we learned:
Filtering apartment criteria on the homepage resulted in an experience that was redundant rather than convenient for the users. I designed a one-field search bar on the homepage, therefore providing the filtering capability alongside a real-time updating listing view.
We conducted a survey and user tests to gauge map layout preferences. The responses were split, but still revealed an important discovery for our client. The left side of the screen is where users expect to find what is most important. Because high-end apartment buildings are AptAmigo’s value proposition, I felt the apartment images took precedence over the map and placed them on the left. My decision will increase booking conversion rates and help the user focus on choosing an attractive property instead of disqualifying properties from a cluster of map markers.
The scheduling modal from the wireframes led to a demanding user experience due to the daunting amount of form fields in one place. I used progressive disclosure principles to gradually introduce new form fields and reduce clutter.
After two weekly rounds of feedback from both users and the client, I presented the following responsive screens and InVision prototypes:
The Co-founder and Head of Product were both very impressed with my final designs and are in the process of working with their developers for the implementation process. In order to establish a consistent visual language and set of guidelines, I created a style guide for their development team.
All in all, there is nothing quite like watching your ideas take shape from the ground up. I appreciated the client’s expectations for research and testing at every turn. Even though they approached us for UI design, they still valued new research between each high-fidelity iteration. My designs were crafted with confidence from user research and motivation from client feedback. Finding an effective balance between the business goals and user needs was an invaluable lesson in product design.