Digital Product Design – Case Study

Closer to Closing (C2C) is positioned to be a digital transaction management service for real estate agents, which enhances the contract-to-close experience through support and transparency behind the scenes —ultimately enabling an agent to manage more business with less effort.

My Role

  • User Research
  • Product Strategy
  • Product Development

Knowledge Gained

  • Problem Definition
  • Outcomes over Output
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Product Tools

  • WordPress
  • Typeform
  • Zapier
  • Airtable

Timeline

  • Summer 2018 – Winter 2019

Getting to know the user

Five times out of ten, when my Wife and I discussed her workday, she expressed pain points when managing transactions and how she would improve the contract-to-close lifecycle. With the combination of paternity leave cabin fever and the urge to find additional means to support a growing family, C2C was conceived. I dove into user research with my Wife to unearth positive outcomes as a Transaction Coordinator and real estate agent once a sales contract is ratified.

Real Estate Agents seek on-demand information

Agents sought the ability to retrieve up-to-date information on their transactions, quickly determine next steps for each client, and access a one-stop shop for document management. 

Real Estate Agents want to focus on gaining more business

Agents wanted to reduce an estimated 19 hours of reviewing documents, gathering signatures, and keeping all parties informed.

Transaction Coordinators seek to streamline data entry and communications with all parties

My Wife wanted to eliminate unnecessary discourse by capturing all crucial details of the transaction during contract intake. 

Transaction Coordinators want automated task management

My Wife needed a platform to systematically create dynamic tasks and auto-generate emails, based on contract details.

Literally, inside my Wife's brain!

Define, design, develop 🏃🏽‍♂️💨

As a new Dad, four weeks of paternity leave is not enough. Especially when you’re just now getting the hang of parenthood and, in my case, being able to entirely focus on how to achieve my Wife’s desire to become a Mompreneur. Scrounging through an assortment of SaaS tools on Product Hunt and watching WordPress YouTube tutorials during bottle feeds became my daily vice. In turn, I defined a high-impact, low effort solution architecture to deliver C2C’s MVP efficiently. 

Realistic Development Costs

Our goal was to procure subscription-based SaaS tools which enabled us to deliver quicker, fail faster, develop on trusted managed services, and shy away from breaking our pockets! 

Product Learning Curve + Mature Knowledge Base

Code free development and WYSIWYG type tools are being created in a frenzy. It was important to select a platform that did not have a steep learning curve. Additionally, I researched their knowledge bases and forums to ensure their was an active community in case I ran into any development roadblocks.

Seamless Interactivity Built-in

To ensure I could bake in automated business processes, analyzing a tool’s ability to execute complex conditional logic was critical – *cough cough*- due to the mind-map presented previously 🤯

Product Reliability + Scalable + Innovative

Since I was piecing together code-free tools and light-weight plugins, it was vital to research the tool’s development team expertise and background. Additionally, I surveyed a tool’s “What’s Next” page a.k.a their Product Roadmap, to determine how their future features could enhance C2C’s value propositions.  Most importantly, I reviewed their recent bug fixes and recovery time & point objectives to ensure C2C is active 99.9999% of the time.   

C2C Capability Model + Tech Stack

What I learned 🧐

Being a power couple is fun, especially when you’re both passionate about revolutionizing the real estate industry through modern technology. As a result of our efforts, we built a working MVP, primed and ready for beta testing. I learned how to synthesize findings and observations from end-user feedback and prioritize outcomes over outputs. I matured by technical acumen to architect a scalable code-free web app while improving site security due to Estonia hackers attempting DDOS attacks on our landing page; that’s another story in itself!

Due to unforeseen regulations to operationalize our service, Closer to Closing is a to be continued journey. I’m hopeful there’s a grand opportunity to carry out some unfinished business and intersect my passion for revolutionizing the real estate industry.