Currently, the only way to view, review, and analyze a Property Data Collection Report is via a 40+ page PDF. Though the PDF logically organizes the data, it is difficult to reconcile the data presented in different sections of the PDF. The user must scroll up and down through the PDF and rely heavily on memory to ensure the data presented throughout the PDC is consistent & accurate.
User Research & Contextual Inquiry
To better understand the Property Data Review Process, I along with the Product Analysts conducted 5 contextual inquiry sessions with our Primary Users - the Reviewers & Appraisers to understand their journey, goals and frustrations.
Contextual Inquiry with Reviewers & Appraisers
Key Questions asked:
- Could you walk me through the Review process?
- What are the most important items you look at necessary for review?
- What problems do you run into? / is there anything that gets difficult/tricky/annoying?
- What external resources do you refer?
Understanding the Review Process through Existing PDFs
-A thorough understanding of the sequence of PDF review was obtained.
- Content Prioritization: Understanding which content and fields are reviewed.
Defining User Persona
Based on the interview sessions of our 2 primary users - Reviewers and Appraisers, we defined their personas to guide our solution.
To The review process is divided into the following components
PDC Review Process
Duration: Sept 2017 - Dec 2017
- Structuring Content: Reconciling the rooms/levels/structures presented in the floor plan images & data to the rooms/levels/structures reported by the data collector is a core task performed by QA reviewers and appraisers on every PDF.
- Photos First: Many appraisers focus heavily on comparing the photos & floor plan.
- Cross-Referencing: Users open the PDF twice to compare different sections side-by-side.
- Data Sources: Compare the GLA and bed/bath counts to public records & MLS.
- Floor Plan: Compare the footprint of the primary dwelling and additional structures shown in the floorplan images to aerial imagery.
- Google Street View:Compare the photos to street view.
- Data Entry Errors by Vendors: A variety of factors contribute to mobile app users incorrectly reporting levels:
-Split level homes
-Confusion around what the level UI means/how to report levels
-The “Zombie walk”/fat finger mistakes
- Verification: In the context of these Data Collections, it’s appropriate for reviewers to be able to modify assignments, particularly when it’s something they are able to verify via photos, etc.
Proposed Solution & Project Phasing
Based on the above findings, we proposed an interactive we viewer where user can perform the following tasks and we planned the relases in phases.
I began designing initial wireframes keeping in mind the following aspects, and gather stakeholder feedback on different options
- Maintain the order and layout of information in which users are used to seeing the PDFs.
- Structure data in neatly layed out card format
- Side menu to navigate different parts of property (similar to how data is structured in the mobile app and PDFs)
Design Decision: Option 1
As users need a full view of the map and see photos as large as possible. So condensed photo and map side by side doesn't help
Design Decision: Option 1
Users need to see all photos stacked up next to each other to make review decisions. Almost always, they will open the model
Floor Plan and Google Map
Design Decision: Option 2
Users need a large view to analyze floor plans. Side Panel view for referencing doesn't really help as most use 2 or more monitors.
Final Design Phase - 1 (Released Feb 2022)
Based on the decisions from the above wireframes, I created high fidelity designs, and the Phase 1 PDC Review was released in February 2022.
- The Summary Page summarizes the key property highlights.
- Data sources vertical card view is designed similar to how user is used to comparing data from PDFs
All Photos Section
Key Decision Made:
I introduced an 'All Photos' section since for quick reviews, users want to be able to navigate through all photos sequentially.
-Visually segregating the Room Pages in the Menu.
- Each Room has it's own page with photos first
(higher priority) followed by questions
User Feedback Sessions
Since this was a completely new tool built from scratch, we were anxious to get feedback from users post our first release to see how we can make this tool better. I partnered with the Product Analyst to conduct usability review sessions post our first release to conduct further User Feedback Sessions.
Interviewed 4 appraisers
Appraisers need to report several pieces of data in their appraisal report. Right now, they have to search all around in the answers to find and confirm what they need.
" As an appraiser completing a desktop appraisal based on a data collection…
I want to be able to quickly understand the condition of a property: whether it has issues or has had updates…so that I can start thinking about the data sooner "
Analyzing the PDF our existing data structure - Updates, Deficiencies, Additions/Conversions & Materials
Final Design - Phase 1 Contd. (In Development)
Since this was a completely new tool built from scratch, we were eager to get feedback from users post our first release. I partnered with the Product Analyst to conduct usability review sessions post our first release to conduct 5 User Feedback Sessions.
Design Decision based on User Testing: Option 1
Users responded better to option one as the Additional Property Information better fir with their sequence while they were reviewing other info on Summary Page.
Final Design - Phase 2 (In Development)
The third finding where users, particularly reviewers wanted to address errors made by data collectors or modify assignments based on their own verified sources.
Finding from usage date:
" Week of 7/10 data:
20.79% of PDC volume had at least 1 Clarification Request.
Of that, 27.89% of the CRs were level issues "
Final High Fidelity
Edits made aren't final until the user 'Publishes Changes' which is when it gets reflected in all documents and reports.
The new PDC Review Tool was received with great Enthusiasm with users reporting significant improvement in their workflow, and much quicker review/appraisal process. A former manager of reviewers called it a "game changer" in the industry.