Compass is a full end-to-end service for helping people find a home they love. The company was founded in late 2012 and I joined the team as the first full-time product designer in early 2013, about 4 months before the public launch of the company. I began concepting the product and creating wireframes with our head of product as we flushed out the problems we were trying to solve, as well as how we were going to approach the very complex and political real estate space in New York City. By September 2013, Urban Compass received its Series A funding, valued at $150 million. Throughout the next year we tested and iterated our original ideas, basing changes on the company's evolution and research, to better the product and user experience.
The Urban Compass homepage was one project that was constantly evolving. As we updated features and adjusted our positioning we had to keep the messaging clear, and the user flow simple and to the point. The balance of new users understanding the product, while still getting them to sign up use the product, was always a main priority. A few iterations of the home pages are shown above.
An early feature that I concepted and designed was the online scheduling tool. I created a four-step process to get the required information from users to our agents. One of the challenges of working for Urban Compass was that I always had to keep three groups in mind: the user, the agent, and the landlord. All three were crucial in the end goal of renting an apartment, so it was always important that the process was simple for everyone involved.
One of the more intricate parts of the product was allowing users to search our listing inventory, and providing them with the best possible content before they got in touch with our agents. Building a template that could respond to the myriad listing variations of listings was tricky — some listings had good photos and some didn’t, some had features listed and some didn’t. To accommodate every situation we had to build a page that would withstand all of those changes while maintaining shape and hierarchy. Above are the search and listing pages we created.
An important part of the Urban Compass experience was being able to access our inventory, schedule appointments, and to see your upcoming schedule on the go. We made sure our entire product was responsive, and I worked very closely with our mobile engineers to create an iOS app.
In order to keep searches organized, we created a feature called “My Apartments,” allowing users to see all their appointments, favorites, recommendations, and historical data.
One additional feature I worked on was our neighborhood guides, spotlighting and sharing information about neighborhoods throughout the city. These were created for a large subset of our users who were moving into New York City from out of state, and needed help deciding which neighborhood was best for them.