Zeus Living provides beautifully designed and thoughtfully furnished homes for business travelers across several metros in the US.
I led design projects from start to end. From identifying problems, conducting research, running workshops, finalizing designs, support engineering and paying attention to how new designs were preforming.
The first thing I did at Zeus was mapping out the process of onboarding new properties. The goal for the project was to identify what projects to work on next. A problem that stood out was that writing house manuals for new properties took a long time, was difficult to do, and was prone to error. Changing that became my next project.
Prototyping the future of Zeus for Business
Smaller features on the B2B platform
Holistic design of all emails
Automatic scheduling of onboarding tasks
Landing pages related to COVID-19
When I first started working at Zeus, we knew that the process of onboarding new properties was complex and often took longer than expected. However, there was no good overview of what was going on. To change that, I started mapping out the onboarding process. The map includes every role, task and dependency involved in the on-boarding process. Every task includes the time the task takes. In addition to finally having a visual overview and common understanding of what’s going on, our goal was to use this map to make confident decisions on what problems to tackle next.
Seven of our internal roles are involved every time a new property is being onboarded. I made sure to involve at least one co-worker from each role. One-by-one, we went through the map to ensure it was all correct. Next, I asked each person to put orange stickers on tasks where something tends to go wrong, and give the sticker a number. On the paper to the left of the map, they wrote down:
Below are the roles involved in on-boarding a property.
Even when things go as planned, there’s room for improvement. The dark green dots on the map refer to ideas about such improvements. Next I presented the project in an all-hands and welcomed everyone to visit the wall to add orange or green dots themselves.
I was able to spend a good amount of time shadowing both a field tech and the warehouse. At the office I had a couple of hours with each of the other roles. What I learned helped me in creating the map and talking about it with stakeholders.
I have a few different digital versions of the map, as the process is slightly different between the different metros we operate in. There’s also a few differences between onboarding single units vs. multiple units in a larger building.
After collecting information, I sat down with Gabriel Song, a PM. We looked at the different issues we had collected and determined what to work on next. We based it on how much we could change the current situation and how complex the issue was to solve for.
Several important issues were identified. An issue that stood out was the creation of house manuals. The process of writing a house manual took 2-3 hours, was difficult to do, hard to learn, tedious to keep updated and prone to error. It took up valuable time for the City Coordinators.
Every time we onboard a new unit, a house manual for that unit has to be written. The house manual includes information about how to access the unit, connect to wifi, what the parking situation is like, what to do with garbage, where the laundry room is, where to pick up packages, the list goes on. The house manual is written from scratch every single time, and it’s a process that used to take 2-3 hours.
The content of a house manual can be divided up in these 3 types:
The scope of the project was to redesign the editor for the house manual, not the house manual itself. Below is a picture of the house manual.
The image below shows the editor for the house manual. There’s several apparent problems with it:
I had a vision of how to improve the editor. To get my ideas out and verified quickly, I scribbled down my ideas on a single piece of paper. First I asked city coordinators to show me their current process. I was also able to sit in on a meeting on how to use the existing tool. It was interesting to see how complicated and difficult it was to learn. I used my simple drawing in conversations with the users, and got feedback that verified my design direction.
After discussing designs with the allocated engineers and taking early Figma wireframes through a design critique, I had a new design that drastically improved the process of writing house manuals and the quality of the manual itself.
We now have an editor that makes it quicker, safer and easier to write house manuals. Here’s what’s improved:
When toggling to “View” you see exactly what the resident will see. Not only is it easy to toggle between view and edit, edit mode also looks very similar to view mode.
After clicking “Save” on the text box, the text is added to the house manual with a blue background color. The color indicates that this text is written specifically for this house manual and is not a part of the template. By clicking on the text, the text box will reappear with all the text populated in it.
The supporting material on the left of the text collapses when the user is done with it. It can be reopened by clicking on it.
Information we can populate from inspection notes, will automatically be added and appear with the blue background indicating it’s specific to this house manual. If you try to edit the information, for instance the number of parking spots available to you, you get notified that this has to be done in the “listing page”. It used to be a problem that information was inconsistent and had to be updated in several places. I added intentional friction to ensure users only change this information when they are 100% sure they have the correct information.
When there’s missing information that needs to be obtained, it will appear with a red background on the house manual. By clicking on it, you can create a Zicket (Zeus Ticket) directly from here.
“ While onboarding each property at Zeus, writing house manual was the most time consuming and tedious task. It usually took us between 2-3 hours to complete each manual. We had to have 6-7 tabs open in order to find the data, upload video content, and check the live dashboard. The data was repetitive and duplicated throughout other areas in the Zeus system. We expressed our concerns with Ingrid, and she was able to make the already exciting data populate, clean up the format, and cut the time to produce the house manual down to 30 mins. These changes helped us increase our productivity, and helped us turn around more properties. “