Myself + 1 Developer
+ 2 Co-Founders
Delivered Dec. 2020
Researched and Built Over Four 1-Week Design Sprints
Doorsy is an app that makes finding your next place as easy as it should be.
We reimagined the mobile real estate experience and created a product that caters to the needs of younger people like Gen-Z who are starting to look for their very first rental homes.
With a voice search UI, card swipe gestures, and a robust built-in messenger, Doorsy makes searching your next apartment fast and easy - so you can focus on the fun stuff.
Young people regularly use products like Uber, Tinder, Postmates, Airbnb, and Snapchat to navigate their day-to-day lives. They want that same sort of experience across all the apps they use, including apps to rent their next apartment — which can be intimidating for first-timers.
Existing real estate apps are based on desktop-first frameworks and don't always cater to the needs of the younger generation's messaging habits, fast thumbs, and elusive patience.
Existing real estate apps are designed for mature audiences who use technology very differently than young people do. These days, however, a younger audience with different product needs is beginning to enter the rental market.
Let's look at a few products young people are used to using: ✨
Now let's look at the rental/real estate products they are exposed to: 🤔
As Gen-Z enters adulthood, they'll need to find a place to live — and they will want to use their mobile devices to do so.
We shouldn't keep exposing these young customers to unfavorable real estate product paradigms when the other apps they use are built with a true understanding of their needs.
Use common gestures to empower the customers to navigate the app in a familiar way.
Make the apartment
finding experience simple & fast on mobile devices.
Use voice-recognition to save tenants time and frustration when initiating a search.
Build a commercially viable product that customers love to use and talk about.
We began our discovery process by looking at the competitive landscape, interviewing potential customers, and digging through existing app reviews in the App Store.
The interviews we conducted revealed that customers often revert back to desktop-based products after trying existing real estate rental apps.
Participants felt that the mobile device was an uncomfortable way to accurately search for properties when living in densely populated areas with lots of listings. They reported difficulty in getting all the details they need via an app.
More Key Takeaways from Existing Real Estate App Reviews:
1. People Want to Hide the Duds. ❌
Reviewers commonly stated the wish to "X out" listings they had already reviewed and deemed undesirable.
2. People Want a Secure, Reliable Messenger. 📫
Reviews detailed the needs for an in-app messaging platform that protects the tenant's contact info and helps avoid spam.
Using the App to Find a Place to Live
Primarily using our native app to browse and contact listings
Listing their Units on the Marketplace
Primarily using our desktop web portal for posting and managing listings.
Our main two customer categories are tenants, who are searching for places to live, and landlords who post their units as listings.
Since landlords will primarily use a desktop-based portal to manage their listings, our main focus for the app design is on the tenant.
Tenant Empathy Map
After the onboarding screens, our tenant begins by searching for a rental using voice commands, speaking a list of features, amenities, and constraints. The natural language processing identifies these as keywords and search metrics.
Our tenant is then presented with a stack of cards to swipe through. A right-swipe adds the listing to their favorites and a left-swipe skips to the next listing.
Once our tenant has accumulated a list of favorites, they can view them as pins on a map, or as a list. They will then use the messaging platform to direct message the property manager in order to set up a viewing or get more details about the unit.
For tenants who prefer the traditional experience of searching and viewing properties with clickable filters and a map view, we also created a desktop version of the service that runs in a web browser. The user can access their favorites and manage their leads they saved in the app.
Tap to Expand Items
Intending to start their search, test participants would often start speaking at the wrong screen and become confused. It also became clear that users didn’t immediately understand the app’s novel functionality upon first use.
Solution #1: Better Onboarding
We implemented a series of onboarding slides upon launch to educate customers on the app's functionality.
The card-swipe affordance of the slides prepares the user for the swiping behavior that is later used to sort through listings.
Solution #2: Lazy-Load Voice UI
We also greatly increased our task-completion rate after staggering the loading of the search page elements in order to give more clear instruction for when to start speaking.
In the initial ideations of Doorsy, tenants didn’t have a good way to recover from speaking errors besides repeating the voice input and hoping it worked.
It also proved difficult for users to input obscure entries via voice such as "La Cañada Flintridge, CA."
1. Implementing a swipe-to-edit feature helped users recover from speaking errors and permitted them to change their minds on a spoken search item.
2. A manual typing feature helps users input keywords that voice entry has a hard time understanding.
Tenants would sometimes start by searching within a large city like “Los Angeles,” but later want to refine that to a smaller neighborhood or specific area which was not easily stated through voice command.
1. We added a “Draw Map Outline” function with an adjustable radius. This allows the user to open up a map view of their search area, and re-draw the outline to narrow their results.
2. We also added an “Edit Search” button to the top right of the interface, which allows the user to return to the voice search screen and make changes or additions to their search criteria.
While being a free app for both tenants and landlords, Doorsy aims to monetize its app in three ways:
In-swipe ads offer an accessible yet scalable way for advertisers to reach our audience. Advertising is targeted to relevant products or services such as movers, direct-to-consumer furniture and bedding, cleaning services, etc.
The ads show up in the card stack between listings and the user can swipe left to skip it or swipe right to open the landing page and/or save it for later.
2. Paid Premium Listings
Doorsy also offers landlords the option of paid premium listings. Since the search results for the tenants are displayed in order based on an algorithm, paid listings will show up first in the results.
Paid listings also are granted the capability for the listing owner to display 3D tours and videos, while free listings are limited to photos.
3. Universal Background/Credit Checks
The third monetization avenue is a universal background and credit check, which is identical to the background checks that tenants must complete when applying for a rental property.
Normally a potential tenant must pay around $30 per application when applying for rentals in person so that the property manager can run their own check.
The Doorsy Universal Background Check will use the same vendors that property managers use, except the user can duplicate their report to apply to multiple listings without having to pay again for each application. This saves the user around $30 per application when they apply for multiple listings.
•We built a validated app prototype that met client and customers’ needs.
•90% of test participants reported they would use Doorsy over existing apps if populated with the same listings.
•We invented a Brand New Voice UI for Real Estate.
•Our Lazy Load UI Increased Voice Search Task-Completion Rate to 85%.
•Test Participants spent on average 25% longer browsing our app prototype vs competitors.