Interior Design Ideas

While on Havenly’s product team, I was tasked with building a feature to promote community engagement. This began as a vague request, and the scope and goals of the project shifted multiple times throughout the ideation process. Ultimately, I was able to manage multiple stakeholders and execute on a feature that is currently the 2nd-most visited logged out experience on Havenly (just below the Havenly homepage). Introducing Interior Design Ideas, a platform for browsing and interacting with real Havenly projects. 

In this case study, I'll walk through key steps in my design and product process.

User Research     Prototype     Usability Testing     Product Execution     Reflections

Note: To comply with my non-disclosure agreement, I have omitted confidential information in this case study. This information in this case study does not necessarily reflect the views of Havenly.

User Research

To begin, I interviewed 17 participants who were interested in home decor, including 6 Havenly users and 11 non-Havenly users. My goal was to gather insights about which communities interior design enthusiasts participate in, and what current gaps exist in their design worlds. These findings will inform how to increase engagement across Havenly.

After asking questions about current sources of design inspiration, online communities, Havenly-specific experiences, and design pain points, I produced a wealth of information, including:

  • User personas
  • Competitive analyses, including triggers, goals, and rewards for each competitor (also known as the habit loop)
  • User journey maps
  • A summary of design pain points and potential solutions

While I must omit proprietary information, here are some of the findings that I’m able to share:

Personas

Persona 2 - CE.jpg
Persona 3 - CE.jpg

Findings

Pain Points - CE.jpg
 

Prototype

After presenting my research findings to the broader team, I led a brainstorming session where team members sketched ideas for this new feature. We agreed on our favorite elements using the dot-voting method, which I then used to design a prototype that would would solve user pain points, foster a sense of community, and answer the overarching question, “How might Havenly help users close the gap between inspiration (ie. pinning aspirational photos on Pinterest) and reality (ie. actually living in their dream homes)?” 

The prototype was named "The Havenly Hub", and it features the following elements: 

Havenly Hub Main LP

Main landing page // Browse and filter through real Havenly projects

  • Ability to scroll through an endless number of Havenly design concepts, where user can see the room rendering, a preview of related products, and a quote from the designer
  • View marketing content at the top
  • Filter through boards by: board type, style, budget, color, and designer
  • Sort by featured, most recent, and most popular designs

Board View // View board details when user clicks into a board from the main landing page

  • View larger image of design concepts
  • View quote from designer, and CTA to book designer
  • Ability to share on social channels
  • Q&A section
  • Related products - can add to cart, favorite
  • View “more looks like this”
Havenly Hub Board View

My Likes // A repository of all the design concepts and products user has “hearted”

  • Ability to add items to cart for individual products
  • Ability to “shop the look” for design concepts

Product Finder // Visual search tool where users can upload an image from their Pinterest accounts or desktops, and Havenly returns similar, ready-to-buy products

  • Includes alternate products as well
  • Includes live chat pop-up so user can chat directly with a designer
Havenly Hub Product Finder
 

Usability Testing

I ran usability testing on this prototype with 11 participants sourced from usertesting.com. They were aged 25-24, had an income of 40-150k, and had to be familiar with Pinterest and Apartment Therapy. Overall, The Havenly Hub received overwhelmingly positive feedback. 

Test Objective

  • Determine if users understand what “The Havenly Hub” does and the value it offers
  • Assess whether users will engage with this feature, including:
    • How excited they are about it
    • How often they might use it
    • Whether they will encourage their friends to check it out

Executive Summary

1. Do users understand what they can do on The Havenly Hub?
Yes - all users were able to understand the different features after clicking around. All usability tests passed for individual tasks.

  • However, I think we can make The Havenly Hub’s overall purpose a lot clearer with some clarifying copy on the main landing page. We should also consider organically weaving in information about what Havenly does in key areas throughout this feature.
  • Quotes:
    • “It’s like a marriage of Pinterest and Polyvore. The best of both websites."
    •  “I would it's a fun and interactive interior design board / site that allows you to like and buy different home furnishings and decor.”
    •  “Like a grown up Pinterest where you can easily design a room and find interior designers who can put everything together for you.”

2. Do users like the features shown and find them useful?
Overall, every feature was positively received.

  • The most raved-about feature was the Product Finder, with 10/11 users saying it was their favorite feature on the website.
  • Users like that the “concept” of The Havenly Hub is unique and not done anywhere else.
  • Consideration: Many users thought you piece together designs yourself — Can we make it clear that this isn’t yet possible, or encourage them to design their own room by booking a designer?

3. Can users see themselves spending time on The Havenly Hub?
Yes - the responses were overwhelmingly positive for this!

  • Quotes:
    • “Definitely! I love decorating my home and this is the perfect tool for planning that out.”
    • “Yes I can. If I can narrow it down to my style exactly and I can find affordable pieces on it I would definitely spend time on here. I love searching for products myself through the photo finder.”
    • “Yes. I like shopping around online, but sometimes find it hard to jump between websites looking for products. This puts products you're looking for on one page.”
    • “I can. I just bought my first home and really want to take pride in it and not fill it with mis matched furniture from IKEA that I've had for a decade through all my apartments.”

4. What should we tweak for the next iteration?
A few suggestions were widely suggested:

  • Design a more eye-catching landing page. The meat of the content (design concepts) is placed below the fold, and people don’t like having to scroll to get to the main content. For the next iteration, we should consider: moving the marketing content, having less white-space / navigation at the top, designing an engaging banner.
  • Include more affordable products upfront. Many people noted that these items were expensive or out of their price range. One user thought this website was specifically for high-end clients.
  • Include more information on the designers by linking to designer profiles. People understood that Priscilla B. was an interior designer, but were unsure if she was trustworthy - more information would help to increase credibility.
  • Consider making the live chat pop-up less conspicuous (perhaps a small chat bubble vs. a full-on pop-up.)

5. Would users recommend The Havenly Hub to their friends?
Yes! We asked, “On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to share this site with a friend? Why did you choose this number? (1 = not likely, 10 = very likely)”.

  • 5/12 users said 10, 5/12 users said 9, and 2/12 users said 8 (Note: we had data from 12 users for this question, as one user forgot to record audio but submitted the written questionnaire).
  • Quotes:
    • “10, I have friends who would definitely enjoy this site as much as I did. I think my friends would enjoy creating boards and shopping other boards and products.”
    • “9, because I think a lot of my friends are in the age range / stage of their lives where they want to invest in a space they can be proud of.”
    • “8. Fairly likely. I don't often talk about shopping sites with friends, but if someone said they were looking specifically for a home decor website, I would probably mention it.”

Product Execution

V2 of Interior Design Ideas. The categories for "trending designs" is based off our most popular filter combinations.

V2 of Interior Design Ideas. The categories for "trending designs" is based off our most popular filter combinations.

Because the prototype was well-received throughout user testing, we decided to build an MVP version of the feature, now renamed to "Interior Design Ideas”. I had limited resources: one backend developer and just one week to implement. In addition to working with Havenly’s product designer who designed the final feature, i also collaborated with our SEO consultant to ensure the feature was SEO-optimized.

The MVP version (not pictured) included a simple filter bar, real projects populated below, and a board view page that included the room design, products, and designer information. Though the MVP wasn’t perfect (its design lacked finesse and the page was slow to load), it validated our assumption that home decor enthusiasts need an easy and engaging way to browse interior design ideas and be informed of the latest trends.

The MVP quickly jumped to the 6th most-visited page on Havenly, and user spent a decent time spent browsing it (1 minute & 52 seconds). However, the bounce rate was high (38%), so we decided to implement a few improvements for the second version:

  • Improvements for v2:
    • Problem: Page is overwhelming. There are hundreds of thousands of designs, and each image is so detailed and difficult to digest.
    • Solution: Make users “choose a lane” by default, not explore all by default. We usher people into these now with the new home. LR is automatically selected if style is chosen. We also only show final designs, which are actual room renderings, instead of concepts which have products floating around on a white background.
    • Next step: Making it more actionable → Book the designer, share to social media, browse similar designs and designers, purchase products. Potentially push to DQ.
 

Reflections & Future Considerations

V2 is currently live on Havenly. It's performing well: it's the second-most visited logged out experience on the site, and its bounce rate has decreased to just 15.48% (compared to a site-wide average of 38.87%). As I stated in the introduction, this project started out as a "community engagement" play, but has morphed quite a bit since then. Moving forward, my next step would to be implement more of those community-driven elements, like user-generated Q&A, the ability to interact with other Havenly users, and richer input from the designer about the design itself. From there, I'd measure success by number of new users vs. returning users, time spent on site as a logged-in user, and number of social shares — instead of higher-level metrics like page rank and bounce rate. Lastly, this would be a great place to push the Havenly referral program, as it seems to be a natural next step for users: "Love this design and want one for your own home? Refer a friend and get $50 your first Havenly project."