PB Connect

CLIENT
Purplebricks
AGENCY
SERVICES
user research, product management, usability testing

Purplebricks sits at the top of the estate agency league table in the UK by market share. They are revolutionising the home moving process by combining agent’s local knowledge with convenient online tech.

What were the problems?

Multiple user interviews with agents and mapping business requirements allowed me to understand the complexity of current situation, and how bad is current offering. The research showed a lot of technical issues as well as functionality limitations that draw our agents to use external apps.

  • Current solution has multiple technical and logic issues, problem with performance
  • Not working properly in the field, not designed for lack of connectivity
  • Agent has to rely on email notifications which have none descriptive information
  • Existing platform doesn’t have search capability by address or name (currently there is a drop down with address, which is not ordered in any particular way, agents can have hundreds of addresses that need to scroll through)
  • Agent’s take comms ‘off-platform’ between selves and Seller/Buyer using platforms such as WhatsApp due to these issues meaning there is no audit trail

Objectives

Create Messaging App for Purplebricks estate agents, whilst delivering best User Experience aligned with industry standards and user expectations, keeping up to date with the latest design language.

  • We want agents to communicate with customers using PB technology.
  • This will ensure all customer data is kept within PB, even if the LPP moves on, therefore providing more control over PB service
  • It will also simplify the agent’s experience with the customer by syncing data and communication with the rest of the PB systems

User research

User interviews

I’ve started with user interviews with our agents trying to understand:

  • Channels of communication with customers
  • Why choosing different tools (WhatsApp)
  • Current pain points of Messaging in web portal
  • General questions ( reasons for messaging, group messaging, future of messaging)

Data and success metrics

Specifying project’s success metrics gave me direction for needed data.

GoalMetric
Increase engagementAmount of messages sent by new Messaging App: Compare monthly average of amount of messages sent monthly through the web with first and consecutive months of monthly average of messages sent by Messaging App
User satisfactionSurvey/Feedback
Respond time (Task time)How quickly agent’s are replying to current messages since the message was sent vs how quickly they will be able to respond with new app
Daily active users / Monthly active users How many users (agents) daily/monthly sent message by web portal and how many sent message by Messaging App

I worked with our data analyst to asses what we can track and how we can assure success of the project.

Messaging mission workshop

The goal of the workshop was to bring team together and create shared understanding of current state of Messaging solution and user pain points around communication with customers. To decide what challenge to tackle and ideate on possible solutions.

Workshop was conducted remotely.

It was my first remote workshop, so I didn’t know what to expect. I turned too few tried on techniques and simple format.

  • Introduction – Outcomes of the research, How to use Mural, HMW
  • How might we’s – 5 minutes on each section (Breakout rooms)
  • Grouping the How might we’s (Whole team in the main Workshop)
  • Dot test then splitting between the three teams (Whole team in main Workshop)
  • Sketch session – Crazy 8’s – 8 scrappy ideas in 8 minutes. (Breakout rooms)
  • Discuss sketch ideas – Max of two for the whole team (Breakout rooms)
  • Elevator pitch – Show your ideas to group(Whole team in main Workshop)
  • Dot test – which ideas should we focus on? 

Workshop 2 – Complexity planing

Throughout this time in Purplebricks I was acting as a design lead for mobile team but also as an interim product manager. As the mission workshop end up with a lot of ideas I wanted to follow up with end users to prioritise the features not only based on their needs but also on technical complexity. That allowed us to build a roadmap with few low hanging fruits and solid MVP.

Design review process

Being Interim Product lead gave me facet for managing the project with design being in the core of our day to day activities. One of the sprint ceremonies I proposed was a Design box that allow us to come up with solution as a team, reassuring we are on the same page at each stage of the project by creating PBIs, raising spikes etc.

Designs

MVP consistent of chat list, conversation view, pushed notification and search. It was quite bloated MVP but feedback from the business was that first impression of something too minimal will discourage agents.

Chat list
Search
Push notifications

Prototype & User testing

I’ve conducted several remote sessions with agents, where they shared their screen and go through tasks of navigating through messages platform and searching. Prototype was done with Figma, so was quite limited, but allowed me to understand the first impressions and gather feedback.

Moving on

At this point I was moving squads to become a Design lead in Agent space. Where I initially wanted to work. As new PM was hired I passed all the findings, objectives, designs and next steps to her.

MVP was initially released to a one region, where its performance was monitored and regular feedback sessions were held.

Outcomes

  • MVP was released to the whole field user base and the team is continuing to deliver additional features
  • Adoption of the app increases, but till managing documents feature won’t be released we are not expecting agents to abandon external messaging platforms
  • One of the USP I suggested was linking messages into internal log for future complaint process as this was done manually, this feature was delivered and performing well

Future ideas

  • notification as messages
  • profiles and notification management
  • sending audio files, voice messages, documents and images
  • history of send documents/media files
  • small thing, but helps – expanding window for lengthy messages
  • suspicious links
  • visibility of calls within the chats and conversations

All above designs are not final and still went through UI design

Let's start a project together

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