Redzind (pronounced “ree-dee-zined”: that was a placeholder name) is a site that combines “white glove moving services” with interior design. White glove refers to having everything set up for you in your new space. So you’d work with a designer at Redzind to come up with a design plan. Then Redzind would also coordinate purchasing the items, be in communication with the movers, and coordinate the set up of the new space.
The client felt that offering the white glove service is what would set Redzind apart from other online interior design services. We were to do research and comparative analysis to see if his assumption was true.
Also, he wanted to use the military as an initial test market for Redzind.
In the project brief our client wrote:
The initial iteration/beta test of the website will serve military customers and will be eventually expanded to the civilian market. We believe that military families in particular can stand to have one less thing to be stressed about in the process of moving. The goal is to make the moving and redesign process 100% seamless, yet worry and stress free.
Our research quickly determined that the military was not a good test market for this product (more on why later). Since the client’s eventual goal is to grow Redzind into a high-end service, we need to attract customers that want to combine moving with interior design. We thought about companies that offer relocation perks to highly sought after job candidates as an incentive to accept their job offer. Redzind’s Interior design and white glove services could be used to enhance a corporate relocation benefit package. So our focus became to position Redzind as a service that could benefit a company as an additional recruiting tool; an interior designer looking to sell their services and attract clientele; and the busy corporate employee moving to a new place that they want designed and set up for them.
The team consisted of me and Nadia Khayat. Dividing up tasks was a bit tricky since we are both strong visual designers. We worked together closely on the visual design, user testing, and user flows. I took on other roles like research, storytelling, personas, and prototyping. Nadia also worked on the comparative analysis, and the presentation layout.
Below is a video walkthrough of the prototype that we created using InVision. The video mimics the steps a new user would take to start a new project. Or you an also click through the prototype yourself.
We started by reading through the project brief, formulating our questions for the client, then we met with our client. We got a better idea of what he was envisioning for Redzind and we let him know what he could expect from us at the end of our two-and-a-half week project. Then we got to work. First up, research.
Researching the Military
We sent out a survey to people in the military and asked them questions about the PCS process (PCS stands for Permanent Change of Station). We also spoke to a few military wives with families who had gone through this several times. And finally we also read through several blogs from military personnel that talked about having to relocate and the problems they face when moving. Our research revealed two big obstacles. The first is that people in the military often have as little as 3 weeks from the time they are told they are PCS’ing to the day the movers show up to move their stuff. That gives you a very short window of time for a design project. But the biggest obstacle to having their new place designed before the move is that they are never told the size of their new place. Offering interior design services to members of the military just didn’t seem feasible.
Comparing Other Design Sites
In addition to researching the military, we also looked at other interior design sites. We took a look at Decorilla, Laurel & Wolf, and Decorist to see what services they offer. And while they were similar in many respects (online consultations, design planning), none of them offer a white glove service level. So our client could be on to something. While Nadia worked on the comparative analysis of other design sites, I was researching moving companies that offer “white glove” services. I found several that also partner with interior designers to a very high-end clientele. So this isn’t a completely new idea. But now that the military was out as an initial market, we needed to figure out who could benefit from Redzind’s interior design services.
New Strategy—Corporate Relocation Benefits
We thought about big companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple and how they will try to lure top job candidates with additional perks like relocation benefits. I started researching corporate relocation. I looked at “Allied Van Lines’ 2012 Mobility Survey”, the “2015 Atlas Corporate Relocation Survey”, and read many articles on corporate relocation. It turns out that qualified job candidates are very much in demand and competition among companies wanting to hire from the same talent pool is fierce. The research also showed that relocation packages are customized to meet the needs and priorities of each individual new hire. Companies offer a range of relocation-related benefits that can include things like helping you sell your home, or helping your spouse find work in your new city; but the one perk none of them are offering is interior design services. Offering this new perk is a way for a company to set itself apart from its competitors and attract talent.
The Talent, the Recruiter, and the Designer
We focused on the benefits of using Redzind to the customer (i.e. the talent being recruited), the company doing the hiring (represented by the HR Recruiter), and the interior designer. For the corporate employee being recruited to join a new company and relocate: the company will not only pay for her move, but also offer her an interior design package through Redzind that she can use to have her new place beautifully designed just for her. The company’s HR Recruiter has a new perk to offer to entice people she is trying to hire (one that other companies don’t usually offer). The interior designer that is starting out in her career gets to reach a level of clientele she might not be able to reach on her own.
As we designed the site, we thought not only of how the customer would use the site, but also of how the interior designer would use it. We spoke with interior designers and asked them how they establish a client’s style preferences. They mentioned using style quizzes where they choose from rooms they like (which we incorporated into the site). We also asked them what is most important to them when choosing whether or not to take on a project. They sited things like budget, project time frame, and some said the client’s style preferences. So in the site mock-up, we made an additional page to show what the interior designer sees when they log on to their account. They would see the projects they’ve been matched up with, along with the details for each project, and they would decide whether or not they wanted to take on each project.
We also created a user flow to represent a new customer using the site for the first time.
Our client was thrilled with our presentation. He loved the site design, but more importantly he was very excited about the new direction we gave to the service. By aiming Redzind’s service as a part of a corporate recruitment benefit, we’ve come up with a unique way to market the service and grow his business. With the materials we gave him after the presentation, he feels he has enough to be able to get investors interested in his new business idea.
We didn’t have time to prototype all aspects of the site. But we recommend that the site include the following: portfolios of each designer’s work, user reviews, and expand to also offer commercial interior design. We also think the site should match customers and designers based on each person’s criteria (sort of like a dating site).