mobile app experience
Zego is a rental property management platform and resident mobile app. This is a short story of how we combined and redesigned the mobile app experience for residents.
Lead UX and UI designer
UX & UI Design
After an acquisition we were supporting two different mobile apps that served the same purpose - allowing apartment residents to manage their interactions with their property. The two apps included everything from reserving amenities, engaging with their communities, and most importantly, paying their rent. Neither app was ready for scalability, and both apps suffered from poor navigation given the increasing features in the apps. We needed to merge the apps, which presented a great opportunity to create a single, more efficient, and scalable mobile app for our users. Moreover, we had to build in white labeling as a core feature for our paying customers (property managers), which meant every decision had to be made with that overriding capability.
After comparing features between the two apps, I dug into the usage data. Years of feature additions created a confusing mix of features, and we lacked well organized data about which features users found most important. I was able to find and rank the existing features by organizing the application’s usage data and analytics.
We then knew which features should be prioritized. But we didn’t know where users would think to look for them within the app so I led a series of card sort tests to find answers directly from beta users. One test included asking users to sort the features into groups that made sense to them. Another test asked those users to prioritize the features from most to least important so we could compare their feedback to our internal rankings. This user feedback, coupled with our own internal data, allowed us to create an initial version of the new navigation flow.
Sketches & Initial Design
I sketched my initial designs while keeping in mind how property managers would be able to customize the colors used in their version of the app. We ensured the app remained easy to use, and more importantly, met accessibility standards. We created initial designs that would allow property managers to choose primary and secondary colors for their specific properties, without giving up too much control over how their residents would find features and use the app.
After creating the initial low fidelity designs, we ran tree tests on the navigation and location of the features in the two current apps as a baseline and again in the newly designed app. The goal was to learn if the new app would allow users would be able to find features quicker and easier than before. The tests produced interesting results, which led us to relocate the entry point, and in some cases add multiple ways, to access certain features.
As the leader on the project, I was immensely proud of the final design because I knew it would help millions of users enjoy their apartment homes. The final design combined both the the usability and experience efforts from UX and the feature highlight from product stakeholders.
Adding the quick access chips allows users to quickly find the features they are looking for, while encouraging them to explore new and useful features.
Creating the interactive "to-do" section makes the app sticky, resulting in higher resident usage.
Organizing the navigation into logical categories provides a natural home for the existing features and allows for the app to scale as new features are created.
The design aesthetic allows the UI to stand on its own while still appearing custom as property managers choose colors that are unique to their own brand.