A brand new remote storage experience.
Openbox is an on-demand storage service based on monthly subscription. Different from others, it not only allows customers to store things, but also helps them sell and donate unwanted items.View Prototype
People tend to buy more stuffs than they actually need, but they often have a hard time trying to figure out what do they need to get rid of.
Minimalism is all about decluttering. Starting from the big idea “minimalism”, I assumed that people could use an app/tool to help them free more space while taking them little effort.
What if a remote storage could help? Traditional self-storage is all about “going in”. What if there is this remote storage that not only stores, but sells and donates for its customers? Would it work?
Remote storage is a good business model. Research shows that the demand for storage space is always there. Remote storage service actually costs a lot less than traditional self-storage.
The question is: What do they usually put into a storage, and why? People usually rent a storage when they are moving, but they also have strong desire to declutter and to provide more space at home.
Design a mobile app for remote storage service to help people declutter
Openbox will send empty boxes for users in advance before the scheduled pickup date. Once Openbox stuff log the box into the warehouse, users can start managing their stuffs.
All items are labeled “Keep” as default. Users can change the label to “Sell” or “Donate”. Once the labels are changed, Openbox will match the items with possible demands on third party selling platforms or donation organizations. When an item get a match, Openbox will let the user know through push notification. Then the user could choose to decided to accept or decline the offer.
Sorting information based on components. Mapping out the IA chart helps me decide the hierarchy of each component. I found that info about item status and message of selling and donating may be the most challenging ones to deal with.
Pickup order, return, and notification
These are three major user flows that users may find unfamiliar or hard to follow. I need to validate them through testing in the initial prototype phrase.
Sketching the initial idea of Openbox. The top three features of this app would be managing items, order pickup, and request return. I was trying to define the basic layout and screen flow.
Using 3 screens to quickly explain what Openbox is, the onboarding pages leads to either the sign up or login page.
The first task for a new users is placing their pickup orders. They need to choose a date, take pictures of items they want to store, fill out their personal info, and adding a payment method.
After a box is picked up by an Openbox staff, its owner could go ahead and change the status of the items inside. If an item is changed from “store” to “sell”, “donation”, or put into the return box, a badge will be displayed over its thumbnail.
When there is a buying or donation offer, the user will get a notification. The message would as if the user want to sell or donate.
Screen flow of the low fidelity prototype.
Users were given 2 tasks during this usability testing: ordering pickup and manage items (keep, sell, and donate). They pointed some problems of the original design.
Problems 1: Onboarding message is not clear enough, on
Users were curious about pricing of this service from the very beginning, but they can only know that during the pickup ordering process. Pricing should be clear upfront.
Problems 2: User giving up after onboarding
Giving users only the signup or login buttons would throw them off. So in the iterated version users are given options to decide later.
Problems 3: The app was not clear about the pickup process
Users were confused about the purpose of taking photos of their items. In the iterated version the app will show users the pickup process step by step.
Problems 4: Selling offers only appear in notification
In the original prototype users can only find their selling offers in the notification page. The iterated version added a badge on each item and a inner page with CTAs regarding the item’s selling offer.
Problems 5: No item pictures in pickup confirmation page
During testing, users felt like they need to double check the items that are about to be picked up in the confirmation page.
While Openbox is the Frontend, It Needs a Backend
While Openbox provides a solution for people who are pursuing a minimal lifestyle, there should be another app that helps people who love thrift shopping or those ones who need donation. Together these two apps are going to form a ecosystem. It’s important to create a steady flow between those two groups of people who have opposite needs. It would be a great opportunity for me to design this thrift shopping app in the future.