Case study: A website redesign into a mobile app prototype
September 2019 - December 2019
UX Designer/Product Manager
UX research, UX design, StoryMapping, Workflows,
Paper Prototyping, Digital Prototyping, Usability testing
A pawn is another term for a collateral loan. Pawnbrokers lend money on items of value ranging from gold and diamond jewelry, musical instruments, televisions, electronics, tools, household items, firearms, and more. Some pawnshops may specialize in certain items. Loans are based on the value of the collateral. When a customer pays back the loan, their merchandise is returned to them. A customer may also choose to surrender his or her collateral as payment in full. Pawnshops may offer extensions/renewals (where permitted by state law).
Our client, Pawnguru, is a web-based desktop platform that connects users to various pawnshops in their local areas to access quick credit. A customer puts in a request to sell/pawn an item that reaches the various nearby pawnshops via pawnguru's platform., Pawnshops call a price on the item and accordingly the users bring the items to the shop to close the deal. Pawnguru charges the pawnshops for a monthly subscription while there are no charges for the users who wish to sell/pawn items.
The problem statement
Before we begin, I want to show you a picture of a pawnshop on a weekday morning at 10 AM and one on saturday 8PM
This is how pawnshops generally look in Michigan - busy, crowded, full of hustle with one on one interaction with the shop owners. This raises certain questions about the usage of websites like pawnguru:
How many times in a day would the owners get a chance to see their laptop to cater to online requests of pawnguru?
What would be the priority of pawnshop owners - the customers in the shop or the ones waiting online?
How many notifications are missed due to proximity from the device?
Does unresponsiveness lead to missing out on potential online customers and reach?
Overall, does pawnguru engage well with the users (pawnshops) in their daily workflow and interrupts them positively?
Pawnshop owners feel less engaged with their computers in their daily workflow when they interact with their customers and they juggle many interpersonal interactions throughout a workday.
Our team decided to focus on the pawnshop owner side of the platform to transform it into a mobile app. Our scope will be around
Understanding the current user experience of Pawnguru
Understanding why the users would want to move to a mobile app
Design the best possible experience to enhance customer engagement on the side of the pawnshops and close more deals.
As a team, we believe a mobile app prototype would better integrate with a work-style that is "interpersonal and interruption-driven.". The pawnshop owners would have much liberty or scope to chat/interact/deal with their customers instantly as a mobile app would.
As a product manager, to validate the solution and put together a prototype for the same, I prepared a client agreement and milestone sheet to be signed by our team and the client(PawnGuru). Our milestones included
performing User interviews
performing qualitative analysis on the data
redoing the workflows and understanding the needs of the user
coming up with a solution/solutions with new workflows
performing usability testing on them
We interviewed 4 pawnshop owners who were the users of Pawnguru about their experience, frustrations and expectations with website. To make sure we cover various geographical locations we performed on site interviews with pawnshops in Dearborn(Michigan) and Brighton(Michigan). The two on-call interviews were done with users in Florida and Georgia.
After performing the qualitative analysis using the concept of affinity walls, we came up with our key themes and insights. They looked something like this:
The motivation of Signing up
Recommendation for future
We identified 5 key workflows in the user journey contributing to their overall experience of the pawnshop. The strategy was to first lay them out as they exist today and then reiterate through them for improvisations based on the findings above. Also, these workflows would help us think in terms of a mobile platform when we actually move on to build the prototypes. Thegreen post-its in the images below show the changes we suggest as a team in the workflow
Brainstorming session of the workflows as a team
Paper prototypes and High fidelity prototypes
We are still working on getting our paper prototypes ready and the plan is to get it tested by a set of users to get a concrete and valuable feedback. We will then move on to build the High Fidelity prototypes. This project is expected to get done by Nov 21. I shall keep updating this space rigorously in the coming month.