Community Issue Reporting tool

In 2020 I designed system for residential community members to report their issues to management and track their resolutions. This project was a design exercise I took upon in applying for a role.

Role: UI/UX Design

Year: 2020

Client: Design exercise for tech company

Research: User Interviews

Before coming up with a solution, first I wanted to do was to understand the needs from potential users of this community. To begin, I posed myself high-level questions of what I wanted to seek out to understand. They were as follows:

  • Why do community members need a reporting system?
  • How does a reporting system help its community members?
  • Where are community members physically when they want to report issues?
  • Do members feel connected to their community?

Broad Ideas Distilled into Specific Questions

Once I had a high level picture of what I was trying to do, I refined these inquiries into specific questions I could ask my interviewees:

Describe some common issues in your community...
Tell me about a time when a community reporting system would have made your life easier...
Tell me about a past experience when trying to report an issue in your community...
Tell me where you were physically the last few times you wanted to report or respond to a community issue...
Tell me about a time when you felt you were out of the loop with something going on in your community. How did you feel then?
Describe a time when you did feel connected to your community...

Interview Results

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Interviewee 1: Daniel

  • Project manager at tech company
  • Age 33
  • Likes bike riding, going out for walks, going to movies
  • Owns condo in community
  • Approx 200 units
  • At work uses mostly laptop.
  • At home and in public uses smartphone.

Interviewee 2: Steven

  • Corporate recruiter at gaming company
  • Age 32
  • Likes music festivals, going to the beach, trying out new restaurants
  • Lives in apartment community with approx. 700 units.
  • All are 1-2 beds
  • Young demographic (20-30s)
  • Approx 25% are students
  • 50/50% male-female ratio
  • Uses smart phone for everything (except at work).

Key Takeaways

Doesn’t like installing new apps, wants to use existing means of communication like email and text.

Usually home when issues arise, but will input maintenance request while at work

Doesn't like app notifications, but likes email notifications

Website & page for prospective owners to help increase property value

Would like to be able to report and track issues outside of business hours

Finds it easier to create maintenance request on desktop computer (vs mobile device)

Would like email or text updates if pertinent to them.

Need to access to rules, basic info and FAQ’s

Would like option to receive regularly community updates.

Questions Posted to an Online Group

In addition to the 2 interviews I conducted, I wanted to see if I could cast a wider net and get additional feedback from more potential users, so I posted my question on an online forum and got a few responses. They can be summerized as:

What frustrates you about your community reporting system?
“What would you like to see improved?”

Want rent payment to be accessible from community website

Want info & resources for more urgent maintenance issues in an easily accessible place

Would like a more visually appealing website and issue tracking system

Frustrated by lack of provenance and reasoning behind rules and HOA guidelines

Competitor Analysis

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Competitor A: homepage
Competitor B: homepage

Competitor A: homepage, below-the-fold
Competitor B: login portal
Competitor analysis documentation

User Profiles

From both the user interviews and a bit of my own judgment (due to the time constraints of the project) I put together 4 profiles to represent the general makeup of the residents in my target community. This would allow me to more clearly understand who this newly designed product would serve. The four profiles encompassed a diversified group of community members that I hoped my solution would be able to serve.

Unrelated Tenants

  • Age: 25-40
  • Gender: 50% male/female/other
  • Work experience: 5-20 years
  • Work hours: 40-50 hours per week, variable schedules
  • Education: Bachelors
  • Income: $35,000-$60,000
  • Technology: computer, smartphone, high internet connection
  • Unit size: 1-2 bed

Young Families

  • Age: 0-35
  • Gender: 50% male/female/other
  • Work experience: 10-20 years
  • Work hours: 40-50 hours per week, generally 9-5/mon-fri
  • Education: Bachelors, some masters
  • Income: $35,000-$65,000 (x2 = $70,000-$130,000)
  • Technology:both computer and smartphone
  • Unit size: 2-3 bed

Older adults or retired with no live-in children

  • Age: 55+
  • Gender: 50% male/female/other
  • Work experience: 35-50 years
  • Work hours: 0-40 hours per week, some part time, some retired
  • Education: Highschool to bachelors
  • Family Income: $25,000-85,000 (x2 $50,000-$170,000)
  • Technology: mainly computer, some smart phone
  • Unit size: 2 bed

Landlords, vacation renters

  • Age: 50-75
  • Gender: 50% male/female/other
  • Work experience: 30-55 years
  • Work hours: 30-40 hours per week, variable schedules
  • Education: Bachelors, some masters
  • Income: $80,000-$100,000
  • Technology: computer, smartphone, high internet connection
  • Unit size: 2-3 bed

User Personas

Here I wanted to further realize my end user into personas that I could visualize more clearly. This would hopefully allow me to be more empathetic when working on my solution.

The Roommate

“I’m always on the go and and my schedule changes from week to week, so I need something that requires minimal effort.”

  • Wants minimal effort solution.
  • Doesn’t care to follow up with issues unless pertinent to him.
  • Not active in community.

The Young Family

“We love participating in community activities and would love to be better connected to our neighbors”

  • Want to participate in community events.
  • Safety issues are a top priority.
  • Need way to keep whole family informed.

The Empty Nesters

“We need a simple way to report issues and stay informed. We prefer the good old fashioned telephone, but are ok using email.”

  • Not too tech savvy, but still need to manage maintenance issues.
  • Wants to stay updated with community news.
  • Prefer phone but also comfortable with email.

The Landlord

“I need an efficient way to report and manage issues for my multiple vacation property rentals.”

  • Needs a way to manage maintenance requests remotely.
  • Needs easy way to stay informed about changes to community rules.
  • Wants property values to go up.

Visualizing Common Problems with Storyboards

Though I don't always sketch out storyboards, I felt here it would really help me visualize common issues for the members of this community. These revolved around the subjects of my personas encounter problems around 1) a maintanence, 2) reserving an amenity on the property, and 3) calling a 24/7 emergency maintenance hotline.

Wireframing and Redlining

After I've pulled together my research and put together

Exploring Alternatives

I knew my original solution of a basic website was

Considering Non-web Solutions

Of course as UX designers we often think of the way websites and mobile apps can solve our problems, but they need not necessarily fit the mold. While I do think that in this particular case a the two solutions below would not work, they could be implented if the use cases were slightly different.

Had this living community been much larger, I could see the use of an in-person help desk be much more convenience for residents. Often times being able to speak to someone face-to-face and explain your problem can get a resolution much quicker. Plus, the psychological benefit of knowing someone is there to help you in a potentially damaging problem (such as burst pipe or electrical issue) is a big benefit.

Alternatively, a in-home intercom system could be implemented to allow residents to quickly communicate with the maintenance staff. However, with the ubiquity of mobile phones, this seems less cost-effective. But I still wanted to consider the idea.

The final design comprised of a landing page with...

Since I had the visual identity already established for my proposed solution, I went ahead and created and put together the designs for a couple of my alternative solutions. I knew these wouldn't be feasibly implemented in this specific use case, but wanted to explore them anyway.

A Simpler App

A more simple app could look...

What I Learned

What I learned from this project was that solutions come in many forms. Often, they are simpler than we may have originally expected. Just like with any business, there is a cost to maintaince a website or and app, and so these must always be taken into account. Just because we can build it, should we?