Yomes is going to cause a serious ruckus in the world of landlords and renters. It’s going to empower a huge group of people who could use a some empowerment: home renters.
The search for a home to rent inevitably leads people to newspapers or online sources where landlords advertise. Of course, what a landlord chooses to display is probably a little biased.
Yomes offers a graceful solution to this problem: Review of rental properties by renters, for renters.
The vision is a global platform of rental properties with information provided not by landlords, but by past renters–the people who have actually lived in the spaces.
The platform will contain photos, addresses, helpful descriptions about the property and the landlord, as well as an overall rating. This is consumer awareness brought to one of the most important aspects of our well-being: our homes. That’s what they want Yomes to be.
New users typically want to see reviews rather than leave them. Since Yomes needs reviews to thrive, encouraging review contribution became vital. Various strategies to encourage contribution were conceived. One strategy that we tested, for example, was to limit a visitor’s site access until she contributed reviews of her own. This strategy, and others, were implemented and tested against a the value of a visitor’s contributions, ranging from ‘none given’ to ‘excellent review’.
RTL followed Lean Startup methodologies throughout the development and tested its hypothesis face-to-face with real users. Once a user is persuaded to contribute a review, a host of new challenges confronted Yomes: how to get the most relevant and informative reviews? For instance, Yomes wanted a quick review process to respect users’ time and to avoid user drop-out. In tension with the need to be quick was the need to draw as much useful information from the review process as possible. We tested various processes offline first to get direct verbal feedback of the experience. The feedback helped create a few MVPs for review process, each of which was tested for the quality of review it tended to elicit. Components that weren’t working well were modified until the desired results were consistently achieved.
We suspected that most Yomes users would search reviews while at the same time exploring the city rather than at home with their computer. For that reason, having elegantly responsive mobile design was imperative. In fact, a mobile first design was implemented to ensure the best possible ux.
Another priority for Yomes was educating visitors about what exactly Yomes provides: particularly increased fairness and honesty in reviews about rental spaces, neighbourhoods and landlords, as well as access to a community of renters. Given the proven effectiveness of multimodal education and storytelling in education, we’ve designed a script for the video (and then produced the video itself) and made prominent on the site’s landing page, which guided users through an engaging and informative narration.