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Background

Real estate investing is currently a painful process for both property owners and buyers. Long settlement time and tedious paperwork are just a few of the many hurdles. Meridio attempts to reduce user friction with fractional property ownership on the blockchain, making it easy to invest and trade property shares digitally.

Meridio is a blockchain venture launched by ConsenSys, a leading venture studio specialized in ethereum blockchain. Meridio’s mission is to make fractional real estate ownership accessible to both buyers and owners. It is made possible with the blockchain technology which enables trustless transactions without any middleman.
I was hired to design the product website as well as its first public facing trading platform before the beta launch. The main challenge is to make a novel and complex technology easy to understand for a less tech savvy audience.
I worked with a remote team on the beta release. My scope involves specifying the product requirements due to the unique constraints of blockchain technology and a complex legal environment, as well translating the specs into user-friendly interface designs that deliver a frictionless experience.
CLIENT:
Meridio (A ConsenSys venture)
MY ROLE:
Responsive Web design, User flow mapping, Web application design, Interaction Design, User Interface Design, Usability testing
TIMELINE: 
6 Weeks

THE OBJECTIVE

Make web more intuitive than human touch 

When Meridio team hired me for the job, the product had a pretty barebones shape built on Bootstrap template, and no product landing page. As the business development team has been working hard to ramp up demand generation, more and more investors are expressing interest to sign up.

My tasks were to design a product landing page and a more polished public facing web app for the beta launch. The the new landing page and revamped web app will be able to:

  • Communicate the unique value proposition of Meridio and allow interested investors/owners to sign up for the beta
  • Allow early users to browse available properties, and buy property shares using MetaMask wallet
  • Present property asset statistics and relevant details in a clear and attractive way
  • Allow users to view and manage their investment portfolio

Like most early stage tech startups, Meridio team is comprised of mostly technical staff. I worked in Agile environment, playing my part in the tech team with daily Scrum standups. While I started catching up with development speed, at the end of the project, design was ahead of development with an established process.

The Solution

RESPONSIVE WEB DESIGN

Through our research, Meridio’s target users are 35 years old and above demographic who rely heavily on desktop computers for goal-oriented tasks and browse content on tablet. To optimize for our users’ device preference, we first rolled out desktop and tablet, and eventually mobile designs.

Landing page design

Simplified UX Without Losing Sophistication

The design of the web-based property app aims to keep the experience simple and familiar while presenting a complex set of property stats to sophisticated investors. An elegant solution was crafted to keep the investors focused on the data that matters the most to them, while streamlining browsing and buying to optimize property investing for efficiency.

As users navigate the details of a property to invest in, the call to action box floats on the right to serve as a friendly reminder while making it easy to make sense of what the investment entails.

mobile property view

Unifying Design With A Systematic Approach 

A big challenge with designing for an Agile team is keeping designs organized while shipping fast. Since we are redesigning from an existing web app, the code base quickly becomes messy with each new UI instance introduced to the interface.

The solution is to build a repeatable UI component library that meticulously documents every button used, every form field state and every card styles etc, so that the UI is unified both for design and front-end.

Learnings

In an Agile environment where design needs to support the fast-paced, incremental development style, there are a few unique challenges to keep UX lean and yet effective. I learned a few things along the way:

  • Follow a rigorous design process from research to iteration. Process-driven design is key to succeeding in Agile.
  • Don’t get too attached to your first iterations. Keep your mind open and iterate on your designs constantly with feedback.
  • Prioritize your design tasks. There will always be a long list things to do. Ask yourself and your stakeholders what’s most critical.

Designing for the blockchain is still a new and challenging venture. Product designers need to both understand the unique constraints with this technology, and keep the UX/UI as intuitive and familiar as possible. Innovation comes from deep understanding and critical thinking; become obsessive with the user problem first, and innovative solutions will follow.

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