Helping Craigslist engage with their primary revenue source, brokers, with an app to manage hundreds of messages a day while building trust with potential buyers.

UX/UI, Mobile, Moment Design Challenge | 1.5 week

 
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The Concept & Use Case

What features can help brokers tend to a large number of responses while building trust with potential clients?

Moment is a design consultancy that works with brands and businesses in strategy, service design, and product design. As part of the interview process, I was tasked to design a key feature of a Craigslist app targeted towards Craigslist's primary revenue source, brokers. I identified an opportunity in helping brokers manage the hundreds of responses they would receive a given weekend and build trust with potential buyers, and designed features of note-taking, message templates, and shared to-do's within a messaging experience.

Just in case the GIFs take too long to load, here's a video of my prototype.

 
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Meet Betty

a middle-aged broker in NYC. Much of her work is communicating with agents and prospective clients. With the fast market, she needs ways to stay on top of cases and reduce the time needed to respond to each person.

Betty wants to touch base with Rhoda, but momentarily forgets her name. However, she remembers she'd mentioned a backyard.

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Meet Rhoda

a single mother of three looking for a reliable, anxious to find comfortable place to rent soon while she gets back on her feet. She's wary of Craigslist since it's known for scams, but wants to find the best option quickly to settle down.

She has particular preferences about the listings she's contacted Betty about because she wants a comfortable environment for her kids.

 
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Feature one: Filtering and Search

Organized filters helps navigate the hefty load of messages.

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Betty's value: Needing several gestures to find a message is costly. Different navigation toggles ensures a particular message or summary note is never too many swipes away. This helps Betty quickly find her conversation with Rhoda based on the summary she wrote about her.

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Rhoda's value: Rhoda, like many buyers/renters in NYC are on a time crunch. This helps them get responses according to urgency and have less chances of being left in the dark.

 
 

Feature two: Creating Summaries

Saving parts of conversations to each potential buyer's summary keeps the broker on top of important information.

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Betty's value: It's hard to remember all the details when there's hundreds of conversations happening at once. Betty has highlighted and added salient conversation points to the summary, lessening the friction of getting back into a conversation. She can also access the original part of the conversation the note was copied from for further context.

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Rhoda's value: It can be hard to trust someone over the internet, especially with Craigslist have a reputation for scams. However, Rhoda is happy to experience the details Betty remembers and addresses, helping her feel comfortable that Betty knows how to best help her.

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Feature three: Shared Timeline

Shared timelines and tasks maintain transparency and accommodates the fast market.

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Betty's value: Betty need to stay on their toes to keep up with the fast market, and a shared timeline keeps either party accountable for tasks they need to get done. Her timeline with each potential buyer is also compiled into her master calendar.

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Rhoda's value: The transparent process help her make more decisive decisions in the market. It also makes her feel like this process is collaborative and that she has an influence on it.

 

Feature four: Message Templates

Self-created message templates, allows more complex customization of mass-sent messages.

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Betty's value: Copy and pasting takes patience care to not to copy something new onto the clipboard. Instead, she's created her own message templates, both from scratch and from a previously sent message. She can customize a mass update to maintain the personalized experience they're providing potential buyers.

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Rhoda's value: While she, like many other buyers/renters, acknowledge the use of mass-messages, she appreciates the nuance she receives, making her feel like this experience is worthwhile.

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Architecture Overview

Broker's have three core actions to fulfill: messaging, posting listings, and keeping track of their tasks.

While I deep dived into the messaging experience, I also proposed the flow of features to fulfill the broker's other needs. My goal in communicating this experience was mapping out the transfer of information across the three main jobs-to-be-done. Zooming out to map the larger context helps me in my process because it justifies the details I am proposing when I zoom in.

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01 – The Question

Which of brokers' core actions would provides most value to the main stakeholders' needs?

The given prompt presents Craigslist as a client looking to build an app that
will make it easier for brokers, their primary revenue source to post and manage listings. The scenario is based in NYC, where speed is crucial, and their research shows that brokers there would use the app if it reduced the time it took them to list an apartment and manage responses from prospective tenants. Instead of designing an entire app, I was asked to identify a broker's core activities and explore one feature in depth.

 
 

02 – Insights

Craigslist's business needs will be achieved as long as brokers and prospective tenants' needs are met.

 
 Mapping out flow of value between the three stakeholders: Craigslist, brokers, and prospective tenants.

Mapping out flow of value between the three stakeholders: Craigslist, brokers, and prospective tenants.

In mapping out the flow of value between the three stakeholders, I realized that Craigslist will achieve its business needs as long as it provides a service that mutually benefits the broker and broker's potential clients. I identified the messaging experience to hold the most weight in building trust as it is the action either party spends the most time doing with each other.

 

03 – Sketching and Testing

I created a use case to prototype the experience.

 

My initial use case followed how a broker would use filters to locate a particular message and use widgets instead of typed words to communicate and decide on important information. Amidst those steps, I denoted opportunities and assumed pain points and proposed the following specific features that might save time while promoting human communication between broker and client.

04 – Key Design Decisions

Simplifying information architecture and scrutinizing micro-interactions

 
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I wouldn't want so many levels of organization because an efficient function means having one solid way to look for each kind of thing.
My core activities would probably be managing my own schedule and then communicating with clients. I don't really think "searching" should be a big part of my day; it's more like a way to get those other things done.
 Above: Development of the home and individual message pages, and how they relate to search functions. Right: A prototype of summary previews that tested users felt was excessive.

Above: Development of the home and individual message pages, and how they relate to search functions. Right: A prototype of summary previews that tested users felt was excessive.

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06 – Zooming out to dig deep

Mapping out the bigger context of this experience helped me justify decisions at the smaller scale.

 
 

07 – Further Questions and Reflection

This design problem was requested to be a mobile experience; however, in identifying all the needs of a broker, I am curious about extent with which experiences should be confined into a single of mobile product? Instead, should we (or do we have the jurisdiction to) design for coexistence with the rest of our environment, such as combining workflow with other products (ex: exporting things to other calendars, emails, etc.)

If this were a full-fledged project, I would conduct further research as my next steps to more clearly define the scope of context for which I am designing. I would ask: How can this system better collaborate with existing tools, or are we using this product as a way to change Craigslist's brand, such as expanding it into a business facilitation service?