The Home Fixers is a lead generation platform serving the home improvement industry. The two user bases are homeowners seeking some kind of home improvement service (“customers”) and service providers looking for new job opportunities (“providers”). The home page of the website targets customers. They complete a two-step funnel to get free price quotes for their choice of thousands of types of jobs from providers who service their region. Providers, in turn, use the site as a source of leads for future jobs. They manage their individual lead generation account by opting in to different job types, targeting specific zip codes, and actively communicating with potential customers.
Providers are generally 35-50 years old, don't identify as tech-savvy, and are likely to check on their leads from their smartphone while at a worksite or on-the-go. They are eager for additional sources of leads, but do not have a lot of excess time to devote to dead ends. Providers have often had poor experiences with both lead generation and account management tools in the past, finding them too cumbersome. On the customers side, The Home Fixer’s current conversion rates from the homepage to submitting the lead is around 5%. Their business model centers on producing leads, so they want to raise their conversion rate.
From the provider's perspective our focus should be keeping their experience as minimalistic. Some areas of focus on the customer side include aesthetics, reducing friction in the funnel, and more effectively assisting them to get their home improvement project completed. The result should be a website that directly reflects the company’s value proposition and increases conversion rates.
I am following a user-centered approach, allowing myself to be guided by user
research and frequently iterating on each step according to newly accumulated data.
I started with a very thorough analysis of The Home Fixers' current website from a UX perspective. I found some apparent pain points initially and sharpened those perceptions using a product called Hot Jar to watch real user interaction on the site. This enabled me to build funnel heat maps pinpointing which step in the funnel suffered from the lowest conversion. That became my entry point to tackle the overall challenge.
I conducted a discovery phase to learn about the current market, including both types of users and their needs. I began this process with market research to learn about the main players in the industry, ultimately compiling a high-level competitive analysis of lead generation companies in the home improvement space. I also conducted user testing on the existing product to identify usage trends, user priorities, knowledge gaps, and missed opportunities. This gave me critical insight into the mindset of my target markets and what they need from The Home Fixers.
The Home Fixers needs to provide both customers and providers with an modern-looking, frictionless product to raise conversion rates and increase sign-ups.
Now that I had all this data, I created a product roadmap to focus my research and strategize what tangible next steps I can take to help the company. My first objective was to generate more leads. I concluded in the research stage that most of the homepage's organic traffic was from providers, whereas customers usually arrived through paid ads and direct links to an industry-specific page such as plumbing. This told me that the industry-specific pages held underutilized potential. I could revamp each industry-specific page into a themed landing page to appeal to customers and guide them through the funnel. Of course in order to truly benefit from driving more traffic to the funnel, I would also have to revamp the questionnaire itself.
As with any two-sided marketplace, an increase in customers would help bring in more providers as The Home Fixers became known as a reliable source of promising leads. At the same time, I wanted to tackle the supply-side directly by establishing a second objective: optimizing the homepage for onboarding providers in order to capitalize on the existing organic traffic. I also learned that the company had the ability to supplement an ailing customer funnel by purchasing leads from wholesale lead generators, so a focus on onboarding more contractors to fill the supply-side would be critical.
I outlined proposed changes and improvements, prioritizing according to realistic time to execution because this was a small company with limited resources. I also grouped the proposals according to my two main objectives and focused my efforts on relevant projects.
I took to pen and paper to start free-sketching. I developed a set of ideation sketches to help focus this idea. I tried out multiple directions for the redesign of the landing page as well as the funnel and map generator.
After producing some first drafts I moved onto wireframes in Sketch. I knew I would need to build multiple "landing pages" for the dozens of themed pages, so I wanted a design that could both achieve my goal of reducing friction for customers considering submitting a lead and would be easily replicable. I also worked on a popup for the questionnaire itself that was simple and engaging, with the intention of reducing drop-offs.
Once I completed these wireframes, I decided to revisit the aesthetic direction of The Home Fixers. With limited time I knew I could not redo everything, so I prioritized changes that I felt would be most impactful. The CEO cautioned against a dramatic change given their limited resource, so I kept this step minimal while optimizing for a more modern, clean and aesthetically pleasing look. I began with slight changes to the typography and color palette to enhance their "look" while still keeping true to their look. Their existing imagery felt off-brand to me so I sourced more relevant images. I wanted to take a pass at a logo revision but put that on the back burner for now given the abundance of more critical opportunities to improve.
With the new styles I was able to create high-fidelity mockups. I created mockups for everything I would need to hand off to the engineer for actual implementation, including the homepage, a themed landing page (I used the plumbers industry as a guide) and all the screens needed for the popup questionnaire. I also created a mobile responsive design for everything because my research showed that many of their users used their service on mobile.
I created a prototype using Invision with the mockups I created in Sketch to get a proper feel for the new customer flow and identify any gaps. Through user testing I assessed how customers navigated the new questionnaire and if there were any pain points along the way. I made necessary revisions to my prototype based on the results of my user testing and re-tested with much-improved results. To wrap up, I redid the prototype with pixel-perfect mockups.
Over the course of this project I provided specific solutions to the problems I found from my analysis of The Home Fixers. Once I completed all the prototyping and iterations, I handed off all my work to the lead engineer using Zeplin, a product for sharing Sketch files. She was able to get valuable front-end details from my mockups as well as all the assets and images I used. The new site is now live and is currently being tested through A/B split testing. Over the next few weeks, we will monitor the conversion rates and sign-ups and have more data to drive future iterations.