Redesigning the home inspection
experience to increase conversion in an untapped segment
5 UX Designers
Who is Inspectify?
Inspectify is a national SaaS start-up aimed to streamline and facilitate the home inspection transaction process for real estate professionals, homebuyers, and home inspectors. Their go-to-market strategy is to acquire customers at the point of inspection and keep them up to and through the insurance purchase. They plan to expand their services to include home maintenance and insurance once they have solidified their core business.
Inspectify’s current primary source of revenue is through real estate agent recommendations at centralized brokerages, which accounts for 3% of the current US realtor population, leaving the remaining 97% of traditional real estate brokers untapped.
Our design team was brought on to reach and obtain new users from the untapped segment by elevating the current platform and improving the user flow.
(Desktop & Mobile)
How might we reach an untapped market and connect with users to increase conversion?
Our team was excited to jumpstart the project to help streamline and improve our client's platform. However, without proper experience and knowledge within the home inspection industry, our team had to take a detour to quickly get acquainted with the marketspace.
We found that aside from home inspections being a standard part of the home buying and selling experience, inspections are also strongly influenced by real estate agents regarding home services recommendations.
With this, we had a clearer understanding of not only the industry but, why the clients are focusing on the realtors' channel to reach their EOY (6,000 inspections orders/month) projection goals.
UNDERSTANDING OUR USERS
Navigating through a lack of user respondents
Once we were up to speed, we looked into the users, traditional real estate agents. We were met with another hurdle where it was difficult to reach the user list our client provided. Ultimately, our team sourced and recruited 3 interviewees within the time constraints faced.
Despite this, we noticed an immediate pattern in our interviews and the same results were replicated through our survey. The results show...
Realtors are looking for experience, reputation, & trustworthiness as the deciding factor and foundation of all their business relationships.
Website design with organized content and features play a big part in usability and providing seamless navigation experience.
Realtors have a contact list of inspectors that they recommend to clients (home buyers & sellers) for home inspections
Realtors book home inspections for clients a few times a month
“The software inspectors are using are "a little more easier to understand and appealing to the clients because it's more organized and colorful and looks more presentable than the one that Inspectify using"
- Previous Inspectify User
“So it's a relationship. I'm going to give recommendations, they're going to choose, and then I will coordinate everything.”
Looking into common user research themes
Through our user research, we found that beyond the apparent influence brokers had on home inspections, they also already had an established network of inspectors readily available. This was incredibly concerning because this suggests that the target audience would not be actively seeking services that the client is offering.
Realtors are involved in an average of 2-4 inspections a month
Choosing an inspector is strongly influenced by real estate agents
Realtors have go-to inspectors and prefer personal recommendations over online platforms
Previous Inspectify users found the platform difficult to use which slowed down the workflow
At this point, our team realized this was out of our control as designers. However, I reminded our team that we still have the leverage to optimize user conversion through the pages that users visit. We have control of how users experience these pages and it was our job to find how to bring that experience to our target audience. We had to diversify our research methods to find out.
Looking at the numbers
I led a client team meeting and requested to have access to the data in Google Analytics with an objective to better understand the user engagement and traffic channels within the site. I wanted to make informed decisions and optimize the best approach in redesigning the website.
Top visited pages
Of the 79.3% new visitors, a majority of them browse the top-visited pages (homepage and brokerages) using a (79.7%) desktop device. The 66.7% bounce rate suggests that the top-visited pages are causing visitors to leave the page without browsing any further.
This indicates that we should center the design of the website to entice new visitors on desktop devices with a focus on the homepage and brokerage landing page.
Keeping the top-visited page in mind, we proceeded to conduct a 5-second test on Usability Hub for the homepage to understand first-time visitors’ recall and first impressions of the website.
48 total Participants
71% Real Estate Brokers
19% homeowners & buyers
did not know what
the site entailed
Of the 48 participants, 54% did not have a clear understanding of what the website entails, reflecting a similar percentage to the bounce rate. Most participants thought it was a real estate website rather than an inspection website.
This provided more ammo to focus on the homepage as it was the most visited but those who land on this page didn't have a clear perception of the site.
Using Hotjar, I conducted a heatmap test on a beta site I created to observe first-time visitors’ behavior and engagement.
Out of the 39-page visits, ~40% of the desktop visitors and ~10% of mobile users did NOT scroll to look past the average fold. This suggests that we also had to work on the hierarchy in how we structure the homepage.
Of the 59 recorded desktop clicks and 58 taps on mobile, the heatmap showed inconsistency in the selected CTA. This prompts a different direction for the CTA button to reflect what we want the user to do when interacting with the site. In this case, it's to sign up.
Design Research Takeaway
Ultimately, all results pointed to the same conclusion: there is an influx of new desktop visitors, the homepage did not clearly convey the client’s services, and not all users scroll past the average fold, making it harder to address the company message to ~79% of its new visitors.
Since the goal of the client is to convert more users, we needed to highlight key attributes that distinguish Inspectify amongst its competitors and clearly conveys the service Inspectify provides.
DEFINING THE PROBLEM
Traditional real estate agents need a way to quickly and efficiently connect their clients with their recommended inspectors, while also having access to booking details and inspection reports so that they can stay on top of the inspection process and provide a seamless experience for their clients.
Simultaneously, during this time, our team realized we put so much focus on acquiring new users we neglected the inspection process after the fact. We were too caught up in the homepage since all the research led us to believe that is where the redesign needed to be focused on. With a solid base of where to head for the homepage, a teammate and I quickly pivoted to focus on the brokerages’ dashboard while the rest of the team continued working on the external website.
This decision was made to focus on not only acquiring new users but retaining them as well. The goal was to improve the usability of the brokerages’ dashboard.
While the team focused on the homepage, brokerages, and sign-up process (user conversion), a teammate and I grouped together to focus on the user portal (retention). I specifically focused on the user portal landing page, account/edit account, and API Docs pages.
Based on our research, we knew we had work to do. Backed with the heuristic evaluation conducted, we concluded that the best approach was to gut and clean up the user portal, starting with the orders landing page.
User portal landing page- order page
Usability Testing on Concepts
Our team quickly digitized our concepts to conduct benchmark testing via Lookback and Zoom to analyze the existing site so we have a baseline to compare against. We followed the Concurrent Think Aloud (CTA) method during the test.
Test A (Inspectify’s Website): 80% Participants struggled to use Inspectify’s current website, with all participants failing to complete tasks due to poorly labeled buttons and a disorganized layout that led to a lot of confusion.
Test B (Team Concepts): 100% of participants found the site and its features easy to navigate due to improved button copy and a more organized site layout that improved the success rate of every task.
Inspectify's Current Website
Mapping Out The New Site
My team created a sitemap to reflect the newly structured hierarchy of the site. Since we are running in sprints, we wanted to maximize efficiency and put more focus into the platform that our users are coming from but our team laid out a roadmap for other pages and features to look.
We also included recommendations that are worth addressing for the future outside of the brokerage project scope to address the homeowners and inspectors' userbase in order to include all users that will utilize and use this platform at one point.
We iterated the wireframes based on the feedback we received and conducted another round of usability testing. The test results with the second round of usability testing was generally well-received.
Our intention with our homepage design was to attract first-time users and cultivate their interest when they visit the site.
Orders Landing Page
This is a high content and traffic landing page of the user portal. The design process behind this was to have a clear layout for users to easily search and view client orders. Overview, search bar, filters, and sort by features were also added to increase efficiency for users. We also conducted closed-card sorting in order to understand and evaluate the information architecture of the site.
Account Page & API Doc
Our team wanted to simplify the user experience by focusing and honing in on the main features on the navigation bar, while still providing users the option to access API Docs through the “Account” page. The API Docs flow was to create and provide a seamless experience without having users scroll through a sea of text to locate the correct API request/methods.
Focus on the Big Picture
As designers, it is our job to make decisions based on the best interest of our users and business goals. Sometimes you have to make tough decisions even if that means pivoting from initial project objectives. Although our team was originally brought on to work on the brokers' page with a focal point in the portal, through research and validation through testing, it was evident how vital it is to consider the entire customer journey experience in order to have a scalable and viable product that users would be interested in.
Under-promise and over-deliver. Originally our client proposed to update the current platform and help with user flow. In the end, we were able to redesign their homepage, brokerages page, sign up and sign-in process, and their user portal. Our client was beyond pleased with the results that our design team delivered.