LOANABLES

THE SHARING ECONOMY
PROJECT OVERVIEW

Loanables.com allows peer to peer rentals for any items a person may need. Whether it's a home improvement project or hosting a large event, a user can browse items from their neighbors or area rental companies. A one stop shop for all your rental needs that encourages renting instead of buying.  

Target objectives

  • Redesign user interface to increase conversion

  • Improving the usability, onboarding and discovery process for new users

  • Re-defining the Information Architecture so it delivers a better value proposition to the user.

Team:  3 Designers

My Role:  Comparative & Feature Analysis, User Interviews, Information Architecture, User Flows, Wireframes, Testing

 

Tools:  Pen and Paper, Google Analytics, Typeform survey, Sketch, Invision, Adobe Photoshop, Boostrap, Post-its

Timeline:  2-weeks

RESEARCH AND DISCOVERY

Stakeholder Interviews

We met with the business owners to understand their vision, brand, and what niche they fill in the market. We wanted to gain insight on who their target users are, their competitors, and what goals they wanted to accomplish in the short and long term. This info helped us determine where to focus our efforts in order to maximize our impact. 

User Research

To try and identify where the existing pain points are and why, a small amount of users were selected and given task to take them through the features as a potential new user.

The results allowed us to gain a general understanding of how a new user feels, their onboarding process and frustrations, and a general sense of how they felt using the site. 

Screenshot of homepage at the time

Sample of user testing response:

“the pop-up window here is confusing to me…”

“…I don't understand why I cant do that…”

Analytics

By studying the existing website’s analytics, we were able to determine some of the existing users behaviors. 

  • Desktop users or Mobile?

  • Are users returning?

  • What is the bounce rate?

  • How long are they staying?

  • Where are they landing, from where?

  • What are their behaviors? 

  • How are the conversions?

Google Analytics

Generative Research

  • Researched onboarding strategies across various comparable websites.

  • Reviewed competitive websites and applications and their features. 

  • Researched current trends in the sharing economy to better understand the current industry.  

1 in 10 Americans use off-site storage for their stuff. Spending $22bn each year

- Self Storage Association

Comparable and popular websites that I educated myself about

Defining the Problem

Based on the short amount of time we had, we knew it was important to determine where to focus our efforts for the biggest impact. Based on our initial meeting with the client, user testing, studying the analytics, and secondary research,  it became clear the onboarding process and trustability were issues that needed to be addressed in order to increase users conversion. 

USER GOALS & OBJECTIVES

Empathy Mapping

Understanding of user needs, desires, and behaviors helped us gain a deeper insight into the users. We created two diagrams, one for a renter and another for a user posting an item for rent. 

Sticky-note time....Renter Empathy Diagram

Trustability  

During the evaluative testing process, we also learned that some of the user pain points originated from a shortage of trustworthiness. This was important, especially given the sensitivity that revolves around owners lending their personal items to strangers. By adding a few features into the site, the trust factor can increase.  One of these is a Ratings system. In the sharing economy, being able to rate your peers holds them accountable and enforces the human to human connection.

Additional features to increase trustability that we wanted to include are:

  • Rebuilding the home page with clear "how this works" visuals

  • Redesigning the signup and rental process onboarding flow.

  • Add user profile photos and rating systems

  • Consistent look and feel across pages

Self regulation keeps everyone in check

The potential benefits from trusting others considerably outweigh the potential losses on average. The ever-increasing complexity and resources of human society — its technological advancement, interconnected social capital, and burgeoning economic resources — all depend on trust and cooperation... "    - David DeSteno

Personas  

Using our empathy map and the user testing we performed, we developed user persona’s to gain a better perspective of the user’s goals and behaviors as we design the user flows. 

User personas

INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE

Affinity Diagram​

 

To understand how the user flows could work, we needed to organize the structure and understand how items relate to one another. An affinity diagram was the best tool to help us make sense of this information, helping to develop a logical layout of the user flows. The benefits of the affinity diagram are best summed up as: 

  • Analyze the relationship between information

  • Logical layout of user flows and task

  • Further develop hypothesis on where to alleviate user pain points

  • Narrow down our focus areas for improvements 

  • Realize information that we may have not been aware of

Our quickly built Affinity Diagram, great way to start understanding the taxonomy 

Site Map​

After we determined our MVP, we needed to understand exactly how these components fit within the site flow. I developed a site map to study how each flow is connected, making sure no connections are missed,  and look for other areas of improvement to efficiency. 

WIREFRAMING

Homepage

I wanted to make sure the user knows exactly what this site does, right from the start. A short phrase was added that said what this website can be used for with a search bar below that allowed the user to immediately take action. The goal was for the user to quickly familiarize themselves while showing them the value this site can provide.

After sketching out some initial ideas, I moved into the Balsamiq wireframe tool. This allowed me to quickly start understanding the spacial relationships of the minimal content needed and build something we can start testing.

USER GOALS & OBJECTIVES

Top Nav

When logged in, the top navigation bar would need to have a few different options. In order to increase the personalization, I added a profile picture and and easy way to access some of the features a user would need to manage their rentals and listings. The profile picture can also be used when listing or renting an item to increase the peer to peer connection and trustability. 

Optimizing onboarding

Back when I was designing sidewalks and pathways as a Landscape Architect, it was best practice to design a path of travel that allowed the users to get where they needed to go without much resistance. The same can be said about digital paths. Users want to take the path of least resistance. I designed each user flow so the user is not required to enter too much information too soon.

According to our analytics, half the users are accessing the site through mobile. It was important to design key screens in mobile to ensure a responsive site that looked and functioned well on any device. 

Flow: New user renting an item

The largest set of text fields was placed towards the end when the user was almost finished. At this point, they are motivated to complete the process leading to increased conversion. If the user is creating an account for the first time, a pop-up modal will ask for their information along the way. 

User Testing

As a result of user testing, I included a bar across the top that indicated how far along in the process the user is and an option to link your Facebook or Google accounts. 

A progress bar keeps the user informed and helps encourage completion

Search and Filter Results in Mobile

Designing the search results page was critical for the function of this site. Not only did users need to easily search and filter what they were looking for, but it needed to work effectively for both desktop and mobile. I started by researching different companies which have large amounts of items to filter such as Amazon, Wayfair, Walmart, and other rental companies to see what works (or doesn’t). 

An easy to use search function is the most important tool here and helps increase conversions

MOCKUPS

Interactive

The short time frame did not allow us to dive deep into the visuals. If we had identified out most critical areas and narrowed our focus sooner, we would have devoted more time to the graphics and visual design.

Here is my iteration on our first mockups

Retrospective

 

It became clear this project was larger than we initially expected. I personally would have liked to have determined the most critical portion earlier and focused more of our efforts there. Visually, the project did not look as well as I had hoped. However, the time spent on the user flows and key principles to improve the trustability and reduce pain points were a big step in improving the experiences for the user. If we were involved in the project for a longer period of time, it would have been helpful to review the analytics after implementation and make adjustments as needed. 

© 2019 by KevinAtherton.com