I worked at Saltmines Group as a Product Designer for the past three months. Saltmines is a startup that creates and mentors other startups, and Movesmooth is the pseudonym of a ‘moving checklist’ app that I focused on while working there.
Currently, the moving space is limited. Most of the competitors provide very basic task-list applications. Originally, MoveSmooth was developed with little research and no clearly-defined target market.
I set out to validate the target market which we had assumed from the beginning: families who are moving. This needed more direction, so I began doing some research in the moving market space.
Instead of finding research confirming the target market, I found out that millennials are the next wave of movers. My initial secondary research revealed that there are millennials seeking homes to settle down in, and college students moving to take their first job.
“Millennials are 60 percent of first time home buyers… there are 87 million of them.”
It’s not just the right era for millennials moving.
It’s literally the right year.
“They outnumber every generation, including baby boomers. By the end of the year, almost 2 million home sales will be to Millennials.”
Having identified a large potential market, I wrote out an assumption that I needed to prove: Millennials either move frequently or have never moved alone before. As a result, they often feel overwhelmed by the prospect of moving. So, I sent out a survey to gather more data.
The survey was completed by 72 millennial participants throughout the US. The results proved not only that millennials move frequently, but also that they are willing to invest time and money into securing a stress-free move.
I went through the process of conducting user tests and interviews of the current application. I sat down with users of different ages and range of skill types with mobile applications. I met with people who were interested in moving, have moved in the past, and who are currently moving. Near the end of my research phase, I noticed a pattern and began to focus in on Millennial users.
“I think this could be a great idea if executed properly, I don’t know how to move… I need my hand held throughout the entire process.”
“Oh, I stress out in the end. I am the type of person who does as little as possible until you know what hits the fan.”
I quickly found that because the app was designed with a different target market in mind, millennials could not relate to it and needed something more than a ‘moving checklist’. Which led to my largest opportunity: Millennials need a moving mentor. Something to guide them through the moving process, and personally mentor them throughout their move.
The next step was to understand how millennials interact with other apps on a daily basis and what they expect to receive from each interaction. You can see this opportunity not only in the interviews I conducted, but also when you review millennials’ daily behavior.
“Where can I get good food?”
“Drive me to get the food.”
“Are there good deals on that food?”
“Share photos of my food.”
After completing my research, I began to re-assess the product. I worked with an illustrator friend of mine to develop a UX story. This helped me communicate to our executives and investors which direction we needed to take. They began to think differently about the target market, and empathize with the millennial user.
Before developing the final product, and after the user scenario, I wrote out what the typical user story would be and began to create product stories. These are derived from the user story and helps to shape the product depending on the users personal move.
When the user signs up, the application will gather data based on where the user lives currently and where they are moving to through the AddressReport API. By gathering this data, MoveSmooth can provide personal tasks to the user.
If the user is moving from a large home to a smaller home, the app can recommend renting a storage unit.
By knowing the size of the home, and the average income in that area, the app can recommend better moving options and quotes.
By knowing where the user is moving to, the app can recommend commute times into work, places to explore or eat, and nearby services.
By knowing if the user is currently renting, and will be owning a home next, the app can offer homeowners insurance.
MoveSmooth strives to ease the anxiety of Millennial movers. We are a mentor in their pocket, guiding them through the process of moving. We provide a dedicated moving plan with advice along the way.