User Research, Product Design, Prototyping, UI Design.
Sponsored Project in the Strategic Innovation in Product & Service Design Course
(This is a 1:30 pitch video with voiceover)
The Challenge from FJORD
How Gen. Z & millennials (Young Adults) value about homes? How could we help them obtain that value?
Young adults who are busy and frequently moving need a more convenient, efficient and cost-effective way to customize their temporary living space for enjoying a more comfortable and personalized home experience, because they think that the current customization process needs a lot of time and money.
Aery is an end-to-end home customization service. It makes home customization easier and money-saving, enabling busy young adults to get rid of the troubles in moving and focus on living their best life at home.
Three Value Propositions
1) Provide users with a convenient, efficient, and intelligent living space design tool, which can quickly generate visual home customization plans based on user preferences and needs.
2) Provide users with Integrated multi-source furniture purchasing, delivery, and assembly services to ensure the most hassle-free and quickest way to finish the moving process.
3) Save the expense of home customization for users. Aery offers new and pre-owned furniture options, as well as buy-back programs.
We want to learn young adults' lifestyle characteristics and housing trends.
• Young adults are busier than previous generations, with over 40 working hours per week on average.
• They move more frequently, at least twice as often as the previous generations.
*From Manpower Group and Porch.
Their key value about home
• Young adults care a lot about home experience, and everyone has different ideas to customize their living space to get more personalized experience.
*From 16 young adults' interviews.
Define the Problem
From the in-depth interviews of 11 young adults with moving experience, we discovered 2 problems:
Young adults want to have more comfortable and personalized home experience.
• They are busy
Young adults think that the current customization process is time-consuming. So every time they move to a new rental place, they compromised on creating better home experience.
" Being able to personalize my home is important… but that takes time where there are so many other things you would rather be doing. "
Michael Suguitan, PhD Student
• They move frequently
Young adults worry that it is not worth investing a lot of money in temporary rental living space.
" It took me 3 months to finally put everything together...and it doesn't match. And I'm gonna move in a year. "
Jon Lee, Product Designer
Based on the research, our design goal is:
How to optimize the home customization experience in the current moving process to help young people who are busy and frequent moving more conveniently, efficiently and money-saving customize their temporary living space?
Target User Persona
We defined our target users by making a persona, and mapped out the goals and pain points in each stage in a moving circle.
• Target Mindset I: About Move
• Target Mindset II: About Home
Get more inspirations about how to make his living space cooler.
• Pain Point
Have to browse many websites to get inspirations that suit his preferences.
Buy and assemble furniture and home items quickly.
• Pain Point
Spend a lot of time finding and buying furniture from different sources, and need to book assembly service.
Fine tune his living space and explore some new ideas.
• Pain Point
Don't want to invest a lot in the temporary living space.
Handle the furniture he can’t take away quickly.
• Pain Point
It's hard to sell the furniture and items when moving away.
• Online Tool
Create an intuitive visual home space design tool, so that young adults can quickly get customization plans that meet their needs and preferences before moving in.
• Integrated Service
Create a convenient end-to-end service by Integrating furniture vender resources, logistics companies, and furniture assembly companies to ease their move.
Provide second-hand furniture options and buy-back programs. We can provide recycling services when users move away, so that we can reduce the cost of customization.
Key User Flow
In order to support our user journey, we have two business strategies.
• Partnership with furniture & home good venders.
As a result, our platform can provide users with very diverse product options, and it can also enable us to directly get 3D model data from venders.
• The Product Circularity Model.
The buy-back furniture will enter the this model, to provide users with low-cost but quality-guaranteed pre-owned furniture options.
When looking at the plausibility of our solution, we considered other companies that offered similar services.
Customers can use Ikea customization tool to make plans of living space. However, it only provides its furnitures.
Customers can rent high-end furniture, but it only provides limited options.
Amazon has the most various options of new furniture and items. However, it doesn’t have customization tools to inspire customers.
• FB Marketplace
Customers can browse many low-price and pre-owned furniture. However, it has a lot of risks as it's a C2C model.
After market analysis, we believe our product has three unique advantages. 1) The efficient whole set recommendations empowered by AI technology. 2) The visualized and accurate design tools. 3) The integrated end-to-end service link from online to offline.
Information Architecture & UX Flow
We designed wireframe prototypes to quickly validate our ideas.
We designed both laptop and mobile prototypes. The difference is that the mobile version can scan the room and use AR technology to project 3D models of furniture into the real space, but laptop versions use full 3D space simulations.
*From two testing sessions with 12 target users:
• The whole set combo recommendations by AI save them a lot of time to find customization ideas.
• The seamless integration of online visual living space design and offline services has never been seen before, so it’s more convenient and can save a lot of time when moving.
Security concern of AR
• Users worry that using AR might leak private information when scanning the room, such as what they have at home.
Laptop version is better.
• The visual fine-tuning function of the furniture combos in the playground is a highlight feature, and the laptop version can provide a larger view to help users achieve more accurate interactions.
Considering the location availability, we designed a “check availability” section on the landing page.
We use a three-step quiz to shorten the time.
Curations for you
We divided the interface into two sections. The preview of "playground", and a list of items in the combo. Click to view individual product details.
The interface consists of three parts: the real-time rendering display area, the tool bars, and the product information area.
Click an individual item for detailed operations, and click "get new ideas" to replace unlocked items with new combinations.
Select the products you don’t want anymore in the purchased product record list, check the approximate sell-back price, and wait for professionals to recycle after confirming the appointment information.
Visual System & Logo
Keep testing with users to validate ideas, assumptions, and iterations.
• I learned that it's essential to conduct the speed-dating user test session at the beginning of the design step, because we need to validate and get the feedback of our concepts as soon as possible to reduce the risk of a potential rapid shift in following design steps. I also learned the importance of Low-Fidelity prototypes in the early speed-dating test phase, as it's excellent way to achieve the balance of usability and efficiency.
• During the early user testing session, I must deliver connected prototypes rather than individual images to achieve basic usability. Otherwise users may have too much space to "imagine" the ideas or solutions, and designers might can't get reliable data from the test.