I had the amazing opportunity to have a one year contract with the Xome team taking lead for the re-design of the iOS Xome App. It had been years since the app had any attention.
The one thing I did like about the app had at this point was the spirit to be different than the other real estate apps. I zero'd in on a feature of the app called "Zoom™". This particular component ventured into the augmented reality space which had me pretty excited. I definitely wanted to put that up and center.
The early stages of our iterations it was mentioned that this app was to be different than the other apps. It essentially had to do something that the competitors didn't. Rather than loading the app with features, that "one thing" we pinned down was to be a utility search app. This app had to be the "Swiss Army knife" of finding homes easy and fast!
A seamless experience merging the iOS and Xome paradigms with the new Font Awesome Pro 5 icon library to achieve a clean refined updated modern experience was the direction I took. One thing I know that was clear at this point was at least the usability of this design was dictated by the thorough research Apple had already had into their UI ecosystem. I learned that the current trends of using icons for call to actions was not so user friendly and fell short on usability. The solution was to just spell out the literal word for important call to actions instead of users having to use the app more than once just learn the UI. Nevertheless, I continued merging iOS UI patterns and native fonts into the Xome artwork and something magical started happening.
The map UI was inspired by the Google UI. I wanted the user to feel the confidence of an already successful and competent map application. To use this map it would re-assure the user that the map was legitimate. To add a little user experience fun I borrowed the Apple Maps animation of sliding the results up and down out of the way of the map. This let you know that the map was always there. This really resonated with me with Apple Maps it's just too bad the actual map is unreliable.
Currently, there is an existing approved Xome App so I decided to build a low fidelity prototype with existing artwork instead of raw sketches for the initial iterations.
The app solution is mapped into 4 areas and flows.
- Onboarding / Create account
- Map / List search
To prove my process to executives and stakeholders of this high bandwidth optimum data exchange between the user and software was a delight. I presented the prototype to users at User Testing as no noise, low friction and slightly fun real estate app that was memorable. The demographic targeted was 25 - 65 males and females looking for a home. The results were awesome. Every user understood precisely what was going on and one even commented, "I'd use this over the Zillow app!" which was refreshing. The slide up and down animation interaction with the map and list results did it's job to resonate in the user looking for a home. I used the user data for my next iterations.
The Solution and Final Good
After rounds of ideations and iterations with the team, stakeholders and executives presenting solution(s) with Invision App, JIra(Agile) and twice a week stand-ups, the product was approved and delivered to development sprints in all areas. I personally wanted to see the new Zoom™ area developed more into more complete dynamic augmented reality(AR) experience but we didn't have time to further go into depth with our contract introducing monetizing elements. Regardless, I'm really excited this experience had brought me closer into the AR world. Thanks Xome!
Cups of tea