This project was a zero to one effort to design software to support the WeWork real estate team. Deliverables included personas and experience maps. My role was the UX Research lead.
On Oct. 10 2019, WeWork had 622 locations open in 123 cities across the globe. There was a huge opportunity for technology to support WeWork’s real estate team during this expansion. This project was a zero to one effort to first model the different roles on the real estate team then design software to support the workflows and collaboration across the team.
My role was to design and execute end-to-end UX research across the generative and evaluative product development cycles. I collaborated alongside a team of product design, engineering, data science, product management and SME’s from the real estate team.
The first step was modeling personas and mapping the day-to-day experience of the individuals collaborating to close WeWork real estate deals. Then, I facilitated workshops with the product managers, designers and engineers to "meet their users" and sketch concepts to meet their needs.
By understanding the team’s needs and behaviors, we were able to create a proprietary piece of software called Dealtrack that was grounded in the human behavior and needs we observed. Dealtrack increased productivity and the integrity of the work.
For the delivery team, grounding our work in foundational research also meant:
- We had a way to communicate with each other and stakeholders about design decisions.
- We had the tools to stay connected to the user throughout the product development process.
- We had a starting point for modeling how success is measured based on fulfilling the needs of these users.
- We can answer the question, “What should be measured as successful behaviors?”
- It’s easier for people to relate to the work being done and empathize with the people we help.
- The team understood the full landscape of users and the importance of different activities they do.
By observing behaviors, looking for patterns and designing a system to optimize the work to achieve their goals, we added value beyond just creating software. We improved the way the team worked.
First, we needed to define the different user’s goals, motivations and behaviors and the system in which the team operated. This was particularly important for this project because of the environmental considerations. For example, deal managers were often walking sites under construction with tenants. This required gloves, hard hats and paying attention to avoid hazards.
Multitasking for a deal manager involved walking a site with a potential client and the construction team on an open roof on the 10th floor while simultaneously participating in a legal call about another deal.
Deliverables for this project included personas, experience maps and low-fidelity sketches and prototypes. My role following the field research and contextual inquiry was to create the personas then facilitate collaborative workshops. In the workshops we created low-fidelity concepts aligned with our new understanding. After the workshops, these concepts were used to provoke feedback from the future users of the product.
Week One: Design the generative research approach.
Week Two and Three: Begin all logistics related to conducting the research including travel plans, recruiting participants and resourcing with cross-functional teams of design, product and SME’s.
Week Four: Conduct the research.
Week Five: Synthesis including persona modeling and user journey mapping.
Week Six: Feedback on personas and user journeys.
Week Seven: Collaborative workshops to create concepts with rapid prototyping & user feedback sessions.
Week Eight: Define the MLP roadmap. Create user stories from our new understanding and begin feature prioritization.
Carson Andrews, Product Designer
Laura Cochran, UX Researcher
Sam Carmichael, UX Lead
Amal Muzaffar, Product Lead
My passion for human-centered design and ability to merge human factors with business considerations allows me to make significant contributions as a design leader and partner to product, engineering, data and marketing teams.
Together is better than alone.
Embracing collaboration over working in isolation not only enhances productivity but also enriches personal and team development. This is particularly evident in the realms of research and design, where shared insights and creativity can lead to extraordinary outcomes. Let’s celebrate the power of teamwork!
Balance autonomy & alignment.
My aim is to illuminate the path the company intends to take, empowering the team to align their priorities and plans accordingly. I wholeheartedly champion autonomy and creativity within our cross-functional teams.
Enriching your circle with individuals who offer diverse perspectives can significantly enhance your abilities as a researcher or designer. This diversity, stemming from our collective experiences as a team, is a treasure trove of insights and ideas.
This is the glue that holds us together. Human-centered design puts people at the center of everything. It doesn’t matter if you are designing for a stakeholder, colleague, user, buyer, merchant or any number of other descriptors. What is important is that you stay grounded in human factors throughout the design process.