PadMapper (acquired by Zumper in 2012) aims to simplifying the apartment hunting process by providing prospective renters the platform to easily search for apartments to rent. Tools like Zumper/PadMapper allow users to find and narrow down apartment listings based on their preferences and budget, and puts renters in contact with the apartment lister.
While these tools definitely help with the discovery of apartments, there are still opportunities to optimize the apartment hunting experience provided on these tools. I worked with a small team at Zumper to solve for pain points in the current apartment listing product offering for their PadMapper brand.
How might we surface the most important information to encourage renters to move forward in their apartment search?
Solve for pain points in PadMapper’s current apartment listing product offering and redesign their PadMapper listing details page.
Product Designer I teamed up with another designer, Head of Product, and an engineer.
User Research, Information Architecture, Interaction Design, Visual Design, Prototyping, and Testing
Synthesizing user research
To better understand the mindset of a prospective renter and their current pain points, my designer partner and I interviewed 6 people who have looked for an apartment within the past 6 months.
We found a few key motivations behind their apartment search as defined in the following job stories:
After conducting usability tests of the current PadMapper site, we synthesized the research insights, and prioritized the common themes of issues to address. We mapped them against how important to the user the feature was vs. the impact to the business.
We narrowed down our focus to 3 areas for potential improvement:
Empty listing information fields and missing details led users to question the completeness of the listing.
Users were confused by the redundant information available on the site.
Users were unsure whether or not they would receive a response from a message they submitted.
By addressing user issues around rental listing trust, listing information hierarchy, and reliable messaging, more users will contact the rental poster.
Knowing these pain points, we set out to solve this problem through a crazy 8 brainstorming session. We drafted 3 “How Might We” problem statements to help frame our brainstorming session and cover the key pain point we found in our research.
How might we increase the user’s trust in PadMapper’s rental listings?
How might we surface the most important listing details to the user?
How might we promote a transparent messaging process between the user and rental lister?
We presented our ideas to the product manager and engineer, and talked through business and technical constraints. Through this conversation, we were able to narrow down the ideas that both solved for user needs revealed in our research, as well as fit within the constraints. We then converged the different ideas into a single mid-fi mockup in Sketch.
We designed mobile first to help us understand the constraints of fitting the information onto a smaller screen size.
Constraints & Iterations
There were a few features that we wanted to introduce to help improve perceived messaging reliability for the user.
Version 1: Lister Response Rate
To address some of the user’s uncertainty of messaging reliability, we hoped to surface a response rating on the lister’s contact information card.
Unfortunately, the current infrastructure and data pipelines did not support this information. So it was back to the drawing board for us.
Version 2: Lister Office Hours
We still wanted to figure out a way to improve the transparency of when a user would be able to expect a response from the lister.
I recommended surfacing the leasing office hours, as this information is more readily available. Not only does this provide the user more details as to when they can call, but it also acts as a driver for users to send a message (business goal) when the leasing office is closed.
Final Screens: Before & After
Here is a comparison of the pain points and our recommended solutions:
The designs scale across tablet, mobile, and desktop breakpoints.
Test & Validate
My design partner and I sought out 6 more individuals who have recently searched for an apartment in the last 6 months to validate our designs. We tested for comprehension of the page and its features, and asked what they would do next.
6/6 users understood the purpose of the page and its features. All users were able to easily scan the page and spent less time on average looking through the listing before deciding what to do next (contacting the lister, sharing with a friend, or saving for later).
We are currently working with the Zumper team to get this implemented. We hope to be able launch, learn, and iterate.
1. Because PadMapper serves both users and businesses (leasing offices), there were some business constraints that we had to juggle along with user needs. Work with the engineers and product managers to fully understand the technical and business constraints up front.
2. Implementing sticky elements on a page can get tricky when there is more than one CTA on the page. It was helpful sitting down with the engineer to walk through potential interactions and use cases to consider.