Telling the story of a product
For two years, I participated in the search for a product at Porch. As the search continued, each iteration of the homepage was a reflection of how true our product was. The first homepage was the most vague. At it’s beginning, Porch was merely a place to browse. With a headline inviting you to “see professionals your neighbors love” and competing CTAs ranging from “find a pro” to “browse photos” to “start scrapbooking,” it’s no wonder visitors were aimless and uncommitted during their first and only visit.
It’s all about projects
Previously, it was thought that since homeowners were searching for contractors, then we should be a directory. I asked a question – is that the best we can offer? Most homeowners don’t know exactly what type of professional they need. The root of the homeowner’s problem wasn’t who to hire – it was what they needed help with. We were asking homeowners the wrong question.
Defining clear objectives and scope
- Change the primary search from pro-centric to project-centric
- Elevate the user experience from passive inspiration to active engagement
- Feature nearby completed projects rather than pros
- Update the visual language to match the new pro profile
Designing the project marketplace
Inspired by the wanderlust experience of Airbnb, I wanted to provide an alternative to search. Before we offered the opportunity to browse pros – what if we invited homeowners to browse home projects they can start. I decided to portray potential projects as beautiful finished products – an approach that proved to be inspiring to homeowners.
Capturing project requests
The proposed transition to a project-centric homepage changed the game forever. Porch would no longer be a directory – it would be a service. Tell us about your project and we’ll connect you with the right pro. There was only one problem – our current forms couldn’t handle the complexity of questions needed to ask to accurately define the scope of a project.
Project requests, in essence, are a conversation. Each answer informs the next question. And so I invented the current Guided Lead Form. Using friendly, simple language, users would be guided through a series of questions aimed to define the scope of their project. The results would then be sent to pros that match the requirements of the project.
Our solution not only successfully focused conversion toward a single purpose – sending project requests – it sparked a revolution within our product organization. For the first time, we were building a product – a service that could simplify the process of finding a professional. However, most users abandoned the experience. I suspected it was because we didn’t communicate what would happen next. People understood what would happen if they searched for a professional. But what about when they started a project – then what?
Explaining how it works
On March 30, 2016 we shipped our communication platform – a product that not only connects homeowners and pros, but allows them to collaborate on a project. I suspected conversion would increase if we gave a glimpse of what awaited our users. I also heard that pro signups had been suffering since we removed any mention of them from the homepage. It was time to bring our pros back into the spotlight.
Defining clear objectives and scope… again
- Communicate what Porch is
- Update imagery to showcase pros working on projects
- Foreshadow what will happen after starting a project
- Introduce the Porch Guarantee program
- Provide a path for professionals to signup
Conversion increased by 10.47%
Conversion increased by 36.91%