Currently, PlaceTime is lacking an onboarding flow and contains an inconsistent way to view property listings on their app. This makes it difficult for users to navigate to an office space they would want to explore, which in turn, hurts user retention.
With a project scope of 6 weeks, my mission was to help users quickly learn and navigate the app. I would standardize a simple and engaging flow/journey so that their featured commercial properties can encourage its users to dive in and utilize PlaceTime’s most powerful feature: viewing offices in 3D augmented reality.
As a UX Designer, I developed new user flows for onboarding and property listings/overviews based on previous user research and defined target users. After solidifying those flows, I produced wireframes, a new style guide, and high fidelity designs which were handed over to the SpatialFirst team for 3D spatial integration into PlaceTime’s beta product.
Usually a property inspection involves examining electrical systems, plumbing or roofing. Instead, my appraisal of PlaceTime began by gathering information about the commercial real estate (CRE) market and understanding the target users defined by SpatialFirst:
Studies showed that 92% of surveyed CRE executives plan to maintain or increase investments in technology, with more than 80% of property buyers and sellers who would switch to a real estate agent that offers immersive 3D tours of listed properties (83% Millennials, 94% Generation Zs).
For PlaceTime to align itself with these needs, I needed to come up with the best approach on how I could get users to actually go into the 3D office models and walk around them. I proceeded to assess what could use improvement by inspecting the current beta product.
After taking an in-depth look inside the beta, I created before and after user flows to fully map out what steps I can rearrange, consolidate, or eliminate. One flow for onboarding and another for property listings/overviews.
Possible hurdles and pain points from the current onboarding user flow:
Proposed solutions in new onboarding user flow:
Possible hurdles and pain points from the current property listing/overview user flow:
Proposed solutions in new property listing/overview user flow:
I presented the refined user flows to Bart Denny, co-founder of SpatialFirst, to make sure I was still in line with the startup’s vision. After incorporating his feedback and notes, wireframing began. In between screens, I would sketch out ideas on how I wanted to layout all the different elements.
Doodling really helped me develop a new logo for PlaceTime. With the three-dimensional style and “building block” look of their localized maps as my inspiration, I went for a modest and clean isometric look.
One by one, all the other pieces of the wireframes were coming together.
I was tasked to only focus on optimizing for iPad screens as target users are most likely to be giving tours with a tablet.
Wireframes before visual design
Before leaping into the final designs, I reviewed the wireframes with co-founder Bart. He was thrilled about what I had created, and led for many more light bulbs to go off inside his head. With excitement, he emphasized that we can still trim out more fat and transform the journey to its simplest and most intuitive state.
The flow he wanted me to focus on was the property overview as it would become their template for all properties. The goal was always to get users to convert. Bart added:
He wanted a path with the option to contact or explore, along with a primary CTA to take a look inside. With a couple of ideas looming in my mind, I created a new style guide for PlaceTime before hammering out the final mockups:
The final results were the following high-fidelity screens, optimized for iPad screens:
New onboarding splash page
New tutorial page for new users or guests
New option to select a city from the beginning
New corresponding list of properties
for user to easily locate on map
New navigation bar with help section that includes FAQs, email support and tutorials
Solution to Bart's problem: a new property overview window calling users to go inside, explore or contact a property
Once inside, select space to tour
Take a look at unique building features
Walkthrough tour with new directional buttons to guide users into main rooms
Contact button can be accessed anytime throughout walkthrough
New window with contact options
New transportation & neighborhood page
Transportation options and neighborhood amenities can be viewed through filters instead of going through multiple screens
My designs were handed off to the SpatialFirst team and so far, many of my elements have been implemented into a new version of their beta product via Unity and Apple's ARKit. I was able to create a standard template that guides brokers and tenants to get what they came to see, creating the capacity for greater success in leasing commercial office space. Because SpatialFirst is still defining exactly what content they want in PlaceTime, change is inevitable. Nonetheless, what I was able to deliver is a step in the right direction and if anything, it provides the foundation for future iterations.
My project with SpatialFirst was only a month and a half, so if I had more time, I would have done in-person usability testing to validate the solutions I created. My first goal would be to decrease the abandonment rate by 80% or drive the leasing rate up by 60% of all overall visits. With the AR functionality of the app, I would closely pay attention to how users would walk or move with an iPad in their hand. By understanding their struggles, observing what does/doesn’t work, and recognizing what could be more helpful for users, I can keep iterating and testing designs until they reach their full potential.