The Real Estate Ops team had to manually input every incoming transaction and outgoing disbursement on a per-order basis. Much of this information was already captured in the platform. The input of the transactions was repetitive and left a lot of room for manual error. After an extensive interview with the Ops team, and funders both in NY and in TX, this was identified as the most urgent, important feature added to streamline workflows.
The Problem To Be Solved
Reimagining Escrow Transactions
Other UX/UI related problems included displaying irrelevant information, repetitive data entry, and not being standard in comparison to what a standard ledger/financial statement should look like. Experienced funders also mention the platform looks nothing compared to what they have used in their career of +20 years.
Phase 1 – Discovery
After the project started, I decided to hold a service blueprint workshop so that I might better comprehend how everything worked from end to end from the finance team’s viewpoint. I began to form a few hypotheses and used them as guidance to determine what were the next steps. I needed to understand:
- “What happens when a new order is opened?”
- “What occurs at the end?”
- “What happens when something goes wrong, should anything go wrong?”
- “If something goes wrong, what are the steps for reconciliation?”
- “What does a successful fully funded order look like?”
- “Are there any other software(s)/App(s) being used outside of the platform?”
This exercise served as a check on our knowledge of the business. We were able to iterate our understanding of the business process. We started to uncover current inefficiencies by asking questions so that we could trace back an issue if one occurred.
(Fig. 1 — Collaborative Service Blueprint Exercise)
(Fig. 2 — Flowchart)
The workshop was an essential piece that helped me to continue exploring ways to close gaps in my understanding. It was clear that the current flow and UI were performing suboptimal and weren’t up to standards with the industry. With a birds-eye view, it became easier to generate and test ideas to determine which of the changes had a positive impact on users without risk to the business.
I saw the need to create the ability to visualize multiple processes and their sequences of the proposed solution into a single document. Ultimately, it enabled us to have better conversations, efficiency increase, and proper documentation.
Phase 2 – Define
Interpreting The Findings
New Contraints & Priorities
A Second Look
Conducting a UX audit allowed us to understand flows and pain points, which we’re confident would help inform future decisions.
(Fig. 3 — Design Review, “Escrow Matching” Concepts)
Phase 3 – Experimentation
Iterate, Iterate, Iterate
(Fig. 4 — UX Audits & Iterations)
Solution 1 – New Feature
(Fig. 5, 6 — Escrow Transactions)
Solution 2 – New Feature
(Fig. 7 — Split Transactions)
We identified many problems, that differed from the initially stated problem, then collected all of our insights. These insights led the business team to change direction. If you have evidence to support it, don’t hesitate to propose a pivot or make a change. Thanks to our efforts, we were able to advocate for the users more effectively and develop a solution that increased their efficiency and improved the business.