Airbnb was so last year…Let’s house swap

If you’ve got a pad and consider yourself a “sharer” in today’s airbnb, get in a stranger’s car, let’s consume less type of kumbayah world, please keep reading.

 

My girlfriend Sarah and I are interesting in house swapping with you or your friend during the 4th of July weekend (or nice people in general we can trust).

Airbnb is cool, but we figured swapping pads could be a mutually beneficial way to spontaneously travel somewhere (and for no monies).

Why We’re Considering House Swapping

  • House swapping with someone we know or a friend of a friend would ensure trust and safety.
  • Lodging is often the most expensive part of traveling. We’d rather spend it on nice meals, exploring a city, or blowing it at the stripclub (joking about the last one if you don’t know me).
  • It’s not worth the effort to Airbnb the house for a weekend.
  • Every freaking campground in California has been booked for a year, so this is the next best thing.
  • Why not have someone enjoy our house and location while we’re gone?
  • It’s an interesting experiment. What if we could swap with people for a longer 1-2 week duration? Let’s go international :-).
  • Interact with some cool people possibly in this experiment.

Our Place

*I can take pics of living room and bedroom no prob.

We live in Palo Alto, California where we were lucky to land a cozy 1 bedroom cottage. Palo Alto is a fancy town in the center of Silicon Valley that’s 35 min from San Francisco.

We want to explore a city or town for the long weekend. Vancouver? Sonoma? Bend? Mississippi? Sure. We’re open to anywhere really.

Have a place to possibly swap? If you may be interested, don’t be bashful and get in touch.

Details about our 1 bedroom cottage

Our friends say our home has a country cottage type vibe. We’ve got giant oak trees in the backyard, a hammock, outdoor fireplace, and chirping birds. Again, kumbayah.

Walking distance to one of Palo Alto’s downtowns known as California Ave. Nice shops, grocery store, farmer’s market, and a commuter train to San Francisco are all within walking distance.

We’ve got two bikes you can use to get around, a nice hike nearby, and a vegetable garden you can snack on. In our humble opinion, it’s a pretty sweet spot.

Our Ask

  • An apartment or home (we prefer an entire unit, but are open) for us to stay in Fri June 30, (or Sat) to Tues, July 4 (leaving Tuesday, that is).
  • We’re def down to fly domestically or abroad if it makes sense.
  • We’d want to chat with to ya and make sure we’re both comfortable with the swap. As long as you’re a reasonable person/persons, I don’t see why this wouldn’t work.
  • Don’t know me but have an airbnb profile? That works too! Here’s mine.

us

Swap pads with us. minus the rooster.

So if you’ve ever Airbnb’ed or uber’s around with a stranger, don’t be afraid to get in touch. Even if we haven’t interacted for years or are casual acquaintances, don’t worry. Let’s save some coin together. If July 4th doesn’t work, but another time period might, send me a message too. My email is sing.drew at gmail dut com. Who knows, maybe we can start a friends network of house swapping for vacays. That’s be sweet.

 

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The Pragmatic Guide to SEO-driven press

So your startup wants to rank #1 on Google for your keywords.

You also want to be covered by top-tier publications like WIRED and TechCrunch.

Here’s how you can do both… In one fell swoop of a process.

We’ll call is SEO-driven press.


With an understanding that SEO and press don’t happen overnight, you’ll start getting coverage that will help improve SEO with backlinks from domains with high page ranks.

In this comprehensive guide, I assume you’ve figured out what type content and narratives make sense for your business based on keywords, your target audience, keywords, etc (ping me if you’ve got questions on this).


What do you need?

1 full-time headcount is required to execute this process. A talented intern or junior level headcount can get you going on SEO-driven press.

Ideally, you’ll have a manager who can help drive the content and stories with an intern who can collect outlets, emails, and help distribute stories.


What’s the goal?

The metric to drive = Backlinks from reputable sites (aka high domain authority)

Specifically, Unique Linking Domains from sites with a high PageRank (6 and up). This will increase your domain’s PageRank, which will lift keywords you rank for on Google.

Popular media outlets (Forbes, Business Insider, etc) have PageRanks of 6 and up, but how do you get backlinks from these sites? The answer is consistent distribution of quality stories — aka pitching or helping them with a story that will provide value to their audience.


Key # 1: Brainstorm distribution groups

Brainstorm outlet groups (I call them buckets) that would be interested in this particular post/story.

Example: if you’re pitching a story about “How wearing a toupee makes you sexier”, you should reach out to bloggers and reporters who’ve written about:

  • Toupees, aging, men’s fashion, men’s hairstyle, hair loss.

Each of the above buckets opens up a new demographic of potential journalists that may find value in your story. For example, an AARP writer who’s written about aging may be find value in this story, as well as a contributing writer who’s covered men’s fashion in Forbes.


Key #2: Finding Outlets and their emails

Once you’ve figured out the buckets (outlet groups) for your content, it’s time to find the outlets.

Luckily there are tools that make it easy to find content that has been published by journalists and bloggers based on criteria like:

  • Keywords
  • Subject
  • Publication
  • Publish Date
  • Social Shares

Tools that will help you discover relevant articles and journalists:

  • Buzzsumo — See popular content based on keywords. A favorite tool of mine.
  • Moz Open Site Explorer — If you have a Moz account, this is a solid way to do content research.
  • Google News — Good results for recently written news.
  • Google Alerts — Provides emails to your inbox when your selected keywords are published.
  • Advanced Google Searching (Google Dorking: Good for finding keywords in a domain)
  • Example: if you want to figure out if any TechCrunch article contains the phrase “puppies”, simply type “site:techcrunch.com puppies” (without the quotes) into the search bar.

 

Now that you have a list of relevant articles and journalists who, based on their prior articles, may be interested in your story, it’s important to be disciplined and understand how helpful that domain is SEO wise by checking the root site’s PageRank.

Install a PageRank checker chrome extension like this one. To use it, simply navigate to the home pg of that site to see its PageRank, which is a good barometer of its SEO juice.

 

Gathering Journalist Emails

This is where the party gets started (and an intern is quite helpful). Hunting down email addresses that aren’t publicly displayed takes some time and effort, but once you have your ideal contacts, they’re yours forever.

On the easy side, some publications already have emails listed in articles, like Business Insider.

If the article doesn’t display an email address, which is most of the time, here is the step by step process I like to use to find it.

How to find a journalist’s email:

  1. Check their Twitter Bio — Around 20% of the time, a reporter will list their email here.
  2. Google their name — Search for their email in their personal blog.
  3. LinkedIn Profile — (usually under additional info/advice for contacting).

If the above steps fail, here are useful tools for finding email addresses:

Other ways to find journalist email addresses

  • Searching Twitter Lists — Here’s a hack for targeting specific twitter lists based on keywords that’s easy with Google Dorking. In the search bar, for twitter lists with the keywords “women” “tech” “reporters”, simply type inurl:women tech journalist list site:https://twitter.com/

 

Organize your database of journalists

One way to manage your list of journalist info is a good ole fashioned spreadsheet.

I use Buzzstream, which is a CRM specifically for press contacts. It makes organizing contacts a bit easier with tagging tools, and stages you can mark a journalist (replied, successful placement, etc) Any CRM could actually work though based on the process you setup.


Key #3: Distribution

You’ve got a quality story. You’ve got contacts. Now you must distribute a story to them. There are a lot of email tools to help you make this happen.

Email Distribution tools:

  • Yesware — A quintessential sales tool, yesware allows you to track opens, CTRs, and execute mass mail merge campaigns to email multiple contacts at once.
  • Outreach.io — I’ve heard good things, but haven’t used it.

The emails need to be personal, yet efficient  — Semi Personalized mail merge emails

Sending out a canned email without any personalization to journalists is ineffective, but hand-writing every single one isn’t efficient.

Luckily, with your email tool, you can specifying customized fields in your excel sheet. Make sure to insert their first name, as well as a 1–2 personalized sentences to start off the email that shows you’ve done your research.

Make writing a story easy

Provide a detailed story and images so the journalist has less work to do. Better yet, get on a call with them.

Example fields:

Dear {firstname},

{personalized 1–2 sentence blurb}

 — Canned template story you’ve crafted —

CTA

Best,

Drew

 — —

Example email:

Dear Bob,

I now sleep better thanks to your “how to sleep better” article on TC. My phone is now banned from the bedroom thanks to you!

Since you’re an expert on sleep, I thought your readers may be interested in this story about a girl who slept for 24 hours straight would be helpful for ya. Her name’s Betty, and she’s a 14 year old girl who sleeps for 24 hours when she eats seven turnips! She’s immigrated to SF form Astonia, and will be competing for the sleep world record next month in LA.

I’d be happy to provide images, a detailed story, and even connect you on an exclusive call with her.

Let me know if Betty would be interesting to your readers Bob!

Thanks,
Drew


Key #4: Optimizing Press relationships for Responses

The more time a journalist invests in learning about your story/company, the better the chances are that they write about you.

Once you’ve gotten replies, get personal.

Build real relationships by personally replying with thoughtful emails to journalists. Remember, they’re real people. The semi-automated processes stop here!

If they don’t cover you for the current story you’ve pitched, that’s okay. Remember, you’re playing a long-game so in the future they may cover you if you’re being helpful.

So they’ve committed to writing about you. Hooray!

Don’t be afraid to ask for a backlink

If you’ve helped provide a story, there shouldn’t be an issue when asking for a backlink. Worst case is they’ll say it’s not under their control. No worries. It happens.

 

Have Questions? Feel free to get in touch @drew_sing. This is a first pass at documenting this process (got tired and decided to publish this so far…), so let me know if you’d like to discuss further.

The Summer of Surgeries and SingCore

Running a family manufacturing business is hard.

Especially when the owners are aging immigrants who both require surgeries and don’t have an exit plan.

That’s where I came in.

My parents are the founders of a mom and pop manufacturing business called SingCore. This is a recap of my summer assisting them in business and in life.

2016-06-09 13.43.17.jpg

 

We all get older

My Father Peter began experiencing severe nerve pains earlier this year, which he soon learned would require three of his vertebrate to be removed by way of cutting into the front and back of his neck. Pleasant, I know. 

Peter has been a serial entrepreneur and inventor his whole life. Since 1990, he invented and sold his own log home, survived the Great Recession, and now manufactures a patented lightweight panel that’s utilized for oversized doors and museum walls. It’s a phenomenal product that has been utilized by NASA, The Center for Architecture and Design, and SFMOMA (they’re also installed in Airbnb’s headquarters). 

As Paul Graham would call it, Peter is a gritty cockroach who knows how to survive.

But he’s never grown past the garage startup phase. Building a team and management aren’t his strong suits, so when he reached out to me to try finally get his business to grow while he would be recovering, I had to stop and consider his request.

It was May, and I was in the middle of interviews with companies in San Francisco (I had just returned from a backpacking adventure in South America). I decided instead to step away from tech and fulfill my Dad’s wish to have me help out with his company.

Throughout my whole life, I’ve intentionally stayed away from the family business to establish myself independently. I attended university out of state, worked in Australia for two years, and have spent my my recent years working in San Francisco as a Growth Marketer. Growing up in the family business, I experienced the struggles and saw firsthand the stress involved in running your own factory and company. Especially as a first generation husband and wife team.

But if there was ever a time for me to help, it was now. My Mother’s hand was hurting too, which required surgery in August as well.

So I put my own self interests and professional pursuits on hold to work and live at a sawmill in Washington for the summer to see if I could kickstart this unique manufacturing business.

 

Streamlining a pencil and paper workplace

Everything was done the old fashioned way. Leads were manually forwarded to our Sales Manager, which my Dad managed with his sweet CRM called “gmail stars”. I took aim at modernizing and organizing the company.

It started with redesigning the entire website, then establishing a CRM (Pipedrive) to manage not only sales leads, but our entire factory production flow. Instead of walking hand-written orders, we were digitalizing the entire funnel all the way to the end shipment. It was a laborious process that the entrepreneurial side in me enjoyed.

My biggest task was to build a small team so my parents would not have to be at the mill day to day. We hired a talented young jack-of-all-trades named Forrest, and an experienced Sales Manager named Nick. They’ve stepped in and have made tremendous improvements in SingCore.

I helped close sales. I tracked finances. And as a marketer, I revamped his entire online presence. It was a great learning experience to touch all aspects of a small manufacturing business. Our Factory Manager was extremely supportive as we tag teamed on various process improvements. 

 

Family time or career time?

Just as importantly, spending my summer in Washington allowed me to visit my Father on the weekends as he recovered. Once he was in shape to return home, I’d do what I could to help out with daily tasks that have become more difficult for him.

It’s tough to take time off from a competitive career such as online marketing. There were times I felt this decision would hurt me professionally, but at the end of the day, I’ve still gained new skills. Just as importantly, have been able to provide assistance to my parents during this time.

I think it’s tough for millennials to sacrifice their interests for their parents at times. We’re self-absorbed in our own pursuits and futures, but can at times, forget those that have help mold us into the people we are.

Spending time with my parents has deepened our relationship, which is something I’m quite grateful for.

It’s October now, and I’m now back in the Bay Area still helping out by working remotely. I’m most pleased with the team we’ve been able to hire and nurture, which has alleviated a lot of stress for my parents not having to be at the mill every day. The business is something my Father would like me to take over, but not something I’m comfortable with.

My life is here in the Bay Area. Working remotely is going well, but returning to the startup world at the right company is something that I’ll be entertaining as well. A big thanks go out to my sister Annie, David Gibson, our Factory Manager, the entire SingCore team, and of course, my mom and dad for allowing me to help out and make a few updates to the business.

It’s been an eventful Summer, but I’m glad to be back in California and am excited to begin exploring my next move.

7 Keys to Starting A Successful Growth Team

There’s a lot of commotion around the importance of a growth team, but what steps are involved in successfully establishing one? It’s a frequent discussion I’ve had with friends in growth, so I thought it’d be helpful to outline my seven steps to starting a growth team.

 

  1. Company Commitment

Growth isn’t a role you simply hire for and expect to drive results independently. To optimize growth, it involves input from all departments and is a strategy the entire company is aligned with. Because what role or department doesn’t want the company to grow?!

What type of hire should it be?

It’s important to be realistic though when starting a growth team. Hiring a lead Growth role is the first step. This person should be knowledgeable in the suite of modern marketing tools, yet has engineering experience and can effectively work with product. Scrappiness and ability to define an actionable strategy are two essential traits for this role.

One of the biggest questions is whether growth is a part of marketing, product, sales, or engineering… The best answer is all of the above. Growth requires approval from design to A/B test a pop-up box for content pages. It involves social media to execute a twitter ads campaign. Developing a referral system needs input and potential development from engineering. The fact is growth sits closely between product and marketing

Growth teams that are highly technical and include engineers can move faster, but this is not a requirement as long as part-time engineering resources can be allocated for more technical tasks.

 

  1. One Simple Metric

Boiling down your startup’s definition of growth into one simple metric the entire company can understand will help streamline your growth strategy. This activity isn’t difficult, but requires your growth manager to understand your business model and offering at the deepest level.

For example, should your metric be the # of Monthly Active Users (a metric utilized at Pinterest) or the # of leads your company is generating? These sort of metrics provide insight, but which one is the most appropriate definition of growth for your company? Experiments will be designed based on this metric, which means you will want to keep it constant so you can make actionable decisions based on these results (I recommend committing to a metric for at least 2 quarters). Note that it’s important to have secondary metrics to help with analysis, but when forced to make a decision, being able to point to a source-of-truth metric will streamline this process. This allows your growth team to easily prioritize tasks and set goals when increasing and optimizing for this metric (see next point).

One metric also allows the entire company to quickly understand how their work affects growth. At the end of the day, all departments can positively impact this metric since it’s all encompassing. This is powerful, as it can align the entire team to contribute and help increase growth.

 

  1. Establish a growth experiment list

A growth experiment list is the list of all the experiments your company is interested in running. Experiment examples include an A/B test (copy, emails, design, etc), new product features, separate growth projects, or any other changes/updates that can be measured. A list is essential because it allows a growth manager to prioritize which experiments to set up and execute based on its impact potential, chance of success, and effort required. I like to use Sean Ellis’ ICE process to help with the prioritization process.

 

  • ICE stands for:
    • Impact potential. What sort of results could this test provide?
    • Confidence in its success. What are the chances the experiment will succeed?
    • Effort required. Will an engineer be required to build out this test? How much time will it take?

 

  1. Execute and develop a process

It’s now time to put those prioritized experiments into play. Proposing what “success” means before execution is helpful for reference later. Have your team aim to have a certain number of experiments pushed out each week (3 is a good number to start).

A scrappy, get things done growth manager and team are essential since growth involves a variety of marketing tools and skills. For more technical experiments, this is where allocating engineering resources, whether it’s part-time for a small startup or a full-time headcount for a larger company, comes in.

It’s important to utilize ICE as a source-of-truth when reviewing whether an experiment was successful. Or not. Oftentimes, there won’t be a clear cut winner, which is why the agreed upon metric and definition of success should be used as a reference.

Implement the improved experiments, push more tests, and repeat! Keeping track of what has been run is key, and provides clarity over what strategies have been tested.

 

  1. Allow the entire company to participate

Every role at your company has expertise within their domain on how to increase growth, which should not be ignored. It’s also natural for one person or a small team to eventually run out of great experiment ideas. By allowing anyone to propose growth experiments, you enable everyone to be a part of growth, which is a key to developing hypotheses that increase the quality of experiments on your list.

Build a process to enable participation by the team. Examples include setting up an experiments@ email address or google form that allows an employee to submit an experiment and its proposed ICE. Communicating growth updates to the team should be welcome, whether via a scheduled report or update session.

With that said, the growth team is the owner of the experiment list, which should be clear when setting expectations with the company (similar to a product roadmap). Opening growth ideas to the whole team can become a distraction when not managed properly, which is why keeping metrics, strategies, and goals simple and transparent are important.

 

  1. Understand that failure is part of Growth

You cannot expect all experiments to be successful. Doing so would stifle your team, and limit the amount of “high impact” growth experiments your team goes after, which occasionally lead to significant results conservative tests cannot achieve. It’s similar to a batting average. If you only go for conservative singles, you’ll never get that home run experiment that provides a jump in growth.

Cat Lee, the Head of Growth at Pinterest, has her team define tests two basic categories. 70% of their experiments affect the core product and are of medium ICE levels, while the remaining 30% are “moonshots”. Moonshot tests may be of a lower confidence level and require increased effort, but could provide drastic increases in growth, warranting their development. A healthy balance of experiments should be emphasized by the growth team, which help provide diverse wins of varying impact.

 

  1. Grow your team!

If your growth team is proving its ability to accelerate the trajectory of your startup, work on providing additional resources to your team. It’s important to keep the cadence of growth initiatives consistent, and increase resources when they’ve proven successful. The quicker your team can move, the sooner you’ll receive results. A growth team should consist of PMs, engineering, and marketing-related roles that can execute non-technical experiments.

Good luck!

 

Flightcar Review – San Francisco Airport

I’m a big fan of collaborative consumption models, so once we had our Yosemite camping trip planned out minus the wheels to get us there, I was excited to try out FlightCar’s rent-a-someone-elses-car-for-cheap model. There were a few bumps, but overall, I’m pleased with the experience. If you’d like to save $20, go ahead and use my FlightCar Referral Code – GRDF. Thanks!

 

flightcar-logo

 

 

Sign-up/Paperwork

I have a WA State license, which required me to pay for a $13 DOL report. FlightCar’s emails didn’t clearly state that they would be refunding me for the fee, so for awhile I assumed I was eating the expense, and began to get a little weary about what other potential fees there may be with my first FlightCar rental. $13 isn’t a lot, but no one likes the feeling of surprise extra fees. FlightCar could help its own cause by making sure it’s clear they will cover this cost. Making sure all the little step a customer takes are positive ones is crucial for a startup that requires as much trust as FlightCar.

 

Pick-up

I arrived San Bruno BART and called for my pickup. Within minutes a large Ford Excursion pulled up and I got in. Speedy! I was a bit surprised. There were fancy glasses in the back, but no access to water or drinks, which was odd. Seemed as though FlightCar was trying to come off as a luxury service with the glasses, but it fell a bit short.  Branding wise, it may not make sense to present an image of luxury when FlightCar’s brand is build on sharing cars and the cheapest rates. A random sedan or minivan would have been more than acceptable for a pickup since FlightCar is all about the use of random vehicles anyways :-).

2014-05-30 08.02.48

 oh you fancy FlightCar

Right when I got out, I was lead straight to my car. This was the most exciting part of the rental process. It’s beautiful when compared to the lines and paperwork we’ve all gone through at Avis and Hertz. No lobbies and no stressed out families with the crying baby in your ear. It was at this moment when I had that feeling of “yes, FlightCar is awesome”. The fact that this is such a hassle free process is an opportunity for FlightCar that should be touted on the site and in its marketing. No lines, no paperwork. Just keys in your hand when you arrive.

I was provided a Prius, which looked great, but was a problem since I requested a 2001-2008 mid-size sedan. Normally, this wouldn’t have been an issue, but because we were headed to Yosemite with a group of four plus camping gear, we needed a more traditional sedan with more storage.

I was tended to by Fred, who was very helpful and courteous during the vehicle switching process. I waited about 10 minutes, and was provided a Subaru Outback. Fantastic, now we can go Crocodile Dundee in Yosemite and make those rugged nature commercials a reality :-).

The Outback was clean and ready to roll. There was that moment of awkwardness familiarizing yourself with a new vehicle and asking questions that you don’t read in emails. How much gas do I need to bring it back with? How many miles/day can I drive? A basic brochure with standard rules would have been helpful, but not a huge deal since all the info is online.

If FlightCar was interested in going the extra mile,  a little surprise waiting for the customer could be a nice customer experience touch as well. Often, it’s the little unexpected efforts that make an experience worth remembering and talking about. Gagan Biyani, Co-Founder of Sprig, mentioned how their meals come with a little chocolate that is an unadvertised surprised. His feedback has shown it’s one of most memorable parts of the meal, yet is not the most expensive. Perhaps a chocolate or as a fun novelty (California paper maps, those things you had to fold!) would be fun to have when you jump in your first FlightCar.

While driving through the Valley to Yosemite, we realized the Subi didn’t have AC. FlightCar never states that AC will work, so just be aware in case you’re doing some desert driving. Not a huge deal since it’s the best rental deal in town. Guess we can’t have it all.

 

Cost

If you’re driving a vehicle that costs less than $30/day, it may be cheaper to simply extend your Car’s rental if you plan on driving more than the allocated 90 miles/day.

For example, I booked my car for 3 days (270 miles allowed), but clocked over 550 miles on our Yosemite trip. So instead of being charged an additional .45 cents/mile, I simply extended my reservation an extra 3 days (540 mile limit). You can always return a car early at no additional cost.

 

Return

Returning the vehicle was easy. The staff do a quick inspection (1-2 minutes), then drop you off at the San Bruno Bart . Convenient.

2014-06-23 22.54.47

 

And that’s it! Overall, the experience was a pleasant one. I may be utilizing FlightCar as a Zipcar and RelayRides substitute (services that I also use). Thanks Rujul and the FlightCar team! If you’d like to save $20 on your Flightcar reservation, feel free to use my FlightCar Referral Code – GRDF.

 

Ideas:

FlightCar could begin setting up hubs in cities for people to rent vehicles outside of airport locations in a similar fashion to RelayRides and Zipcar. When transporting cars to and from a hub, they could also pick up customers on the routes as well to provide an extra service not offered by competitors.

 

Housecall: Android Wireframes

I’ve wireframed an app called Housecall that utilizes video and handymen to help people diagnose maintenance issues via video chat. It’s a proposed idea on Assembly, which is a groundbreaking new startup that allows anyone to build software apps collectively while retaining ownership and receiving profit for their contributions. If Housecall wins, then it will be built by the Assembly community!

MVP Assumptions

    • Purposely left out styles to focus on UI. Happy to implement color/design schemes (I’d say I’m an intermediate designer). Just let me know!
    • 1 credit = $25 for up to 45 min video sessions. Credits are used to increase multiple purchase uptake.
    • User not charged for first 30 seconds of video chat.
    • Handymen and Users may message each other for free.
    • Admin = Interface that only Housecall approved handymen will have access to.
    • Admin UI – Has taken account the ability to review users. I don’t feel this is necessary for the 1st iteration, but wip #4 was popular and this feature would eventually be necessary.

Handyman and User Relationship for MVP

Get a small group of 2 or 3 plumbers, electricians, etc to install Housecall. When a homeowner initiates a housecall, connect them with someone in this initial group of handymen with the Handyman Admin app (a separate app for handymen). If the consultation determines an onsite repair is required, Handyman would ask user for their location and search Yelp for local Handyman in their area. Handyman would then simply message User with the recommended local Handyman until a 2nd iteration of Handyman is built.

`

Wireframes for User Housecall app

housecall-1-3

Select a category – Initially, Housecall will likely have 4 categories, which makes an icon display suitable. Once Housecall were to hit say more than 6 or 8 categories though, a list display may be more appropriate to fit all the categories on the screen. Having a list display for 4 categories doesn’t make sense though because of all the whitespace that will make the screen feel empty.

Plumbers – The Plumbers page needs to immediately communicate whether or not a plumber is available to video chat, since this is what makes Housecall special. I used color to emphasize its importance. It could also be made bold for color-blind users.

Profile Page (Jim Kennedy) – I placed the message and video buttons side by side in the middle of the screen because these are the two key actions of the page. The gray lines help split the profile pg, since Jim’s pic and reviews are aligned differently than the buttons. Additional info could be displayed under reviews. Such as average call time, housecall handyman since, or favorite tool (bring a bit of personality to help humanize the profile pg).

  `

housecall-4-6

Add Credit Card – If a cc isn’t on file, we’ll have to prompt them for their billing details. Reader’s eyes should gravitate to black text first, then the gray text for extra explanation. An improvement may be made by making the explanations shorter.

Begin Video Chat and Connecting – These screens simply want to confirm the user’s action, and provide a call pg. The weights of these pages could be improved. They feel a bit empty at the moment, but a colored background may help with that.

  `

Housecall-7-9

Video with Jim – This is the User’s view, which defaults their own camera as the main screen to give the handyman the same view for troubleshooting. Time to track session length is also displayed.

Exiting Video… – Transition screen that displays for a couple seconds.

Jim’s Review – A “do later” button appears at bottom of screen when keyboard is not displayed. Upon completion or “do later”, redirects to landing screen.

`

Housecall-nav-drawer

Navigation Drawer – Allows the user to view settings, billing, messages, and any other pages that make sense here.

`

Housecall-admin

Admin Housecall video call flow – When a video call is dialed to a Handyman, the flow would function similarly to Skype as shown below.