Introduction

This personal project focuses on user interface and visual design. I conducted some research to inform the design and features of the final product.

Problem Space and Research

In India, we find handymen, cobblers, tailors, vegetable vendors, mechanics, etc. on corners of streets. They set up shop with the little resources that they have and work hard to earn a meagre living. They now also have to compete with businesses that promise to bring these services to the users in more convenient ways. As a customer, we want to be offered a choice from which we can pick the most convenient option. Customers also prefer completing as much of this process as possible through the app itself.

I conducted an analysis of platforms in India like AskMe.com, Craigslist, Sulekha.com and Yellow Pages wrt advantages for both the customer and the service provider. Here are a few inferences:

  1. Lack of restriction on the types of ads for services/items posted makes for a tough navigation and authenticity of the ad posted is also an issue. Handy’s services will be restricted to only professionals and other vendors. In other words, there will be no personal ads. This will allow for a clutter-free user experience.
  2. Automatic location detection and results based on location can help build a self-sufficient community and a healthy relationship between its consumers and vendors.
  3. Sometimes, these craftsmen can only afford phones with basic calling and texting functions. Handy needs to build features that accommodate this group of vendors too.

Ideation

Handy is designed to support both these services as well as customer user groups. It is based loosely on the concept of locavores. ‘Local food’, ‘local food movement’ or the ‘Locavores‘ are a movement which aim to connect food producers and food consumers in the same geographic region; in order to develop more self-reliant and resilient food networks, improve local economies, or for health, environmental, community, or social impact in a particular place.

It is a middle-man service that

  • connects customers to services in the most convenient way possible
  • while also giving local craftsmen a source of business/without eating into the daily incomes of these tradespeople

Scenarios

Customer side:

  • John shifts into a big city for a new job; he has no time to explore his neighborhood and meet his neighbors. The faucet in his apartment’s bathroom leaks, and that tube light won’t stop flickering. He wishes he had a handyman on speed-dial like he did back home.
  • Natasha lives with her husband in a busy city. Her husband is always travelling for his job and her job requires her to work long hours. She comes home to unwashed dishes and laundry that hasn’t been done for weeks. She’s at her wit’s end but she’s also on the brink of a promotion, so she cannot give house work too much of her attention.

Service side:

  • For years, a vegetable vendor has been going door to door in many housing societies selling vegetables to the residents. She gets up early to go to the main market to buy these vegetables, and then travels the whole day selling them. Her wages go into putting her two daughters through school.
  • The electrician’s shop down the road has had a steady set of usual customers since years. But they’re finding it tough to attract new customers due to all the online businesses that promise them the same services, at the tip of their fingers. Few existing customers also appear to be shifting to these online businesses.

Keeping in mind these differences, I created a task flow for both the customer end as well as the vendor’s end:

While designing the wireframes and the final look of the website and app, I kept the following principles in mind:

  1. The task flow should be intuitive with minimal need for instructions.
  2. Constant feedback/response to user actions is necessary to eliminate confusion.
  3. A platform-wide search function should be present within a persistent navigation section.
  4. Options for user feedback/complaints should be made available at each step.
  5. Make use of common conventions w.r.t. textual content and page structure. The user should not have to think too much while using common features of the product.
  6. The user should be able to complete as much of the process as possible on the application itself. Text and call functions should be ‘supporting features’ rather than a mandatory part of the process.

Wireframes 1

Wireframes 2

Design

To clearly distinguish between customers and vendors, a separate defining color is given to each. Both customers and vendors can view all their requests and confirmed appointments in the dashboard section. Contact information is provided on every page.

Desktop Interface:

Mobile Interface:

Customer Home

Customer Menu

Vendor Quote Request Page