Digital Product Design – Case Study

Closer to Closing (C2C) is a web-based 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.  Once my previous project’s momentum slowed down, I shifted gears “in-house” to focus on my Fiancé’s desire to be a stay-at-home Mom, while continuing her career in real-estate. 

My Role

  • User Research
  • Branding
  • Product Development

Knowledge Gained

  • Web Development & Platform Integration (Code-Free)
  • Web Design Trends
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Product Tools

  • WordPress
  • Typeform
  • Zapier
  • Airtable

Timeline

  • Summer 2018 – Ongoing

Overview

C2C was my first experience developing a digital service, making it the opening chapter in my journey to become a full stack product manager. This project focused on learning by doing; however, my goal was to learn what it meant to fully execute on a design process. I continuously made connections between previous project’s design process and lessons learned, to ensure we focused on high impact, low effort features to build C2C’s MVP.  

Getting to know the user

Five times out of ten, when my Fiancé and I discussed her work day, she expressed pain points when managing transactions and how she would improve the current solution in place to enhance the user experience.  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 Fiancé to unearth her goals and frustrations as a Transaction Coordinator and discovered ways to increase transparency for the agent.

Real Estate Agents seek on-demand information

Users 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

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

Transaction Coordinators want automated task management

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

Literally, inside my Fiancé's brain!

Define, design, develop 🏃🏽‍♂️💨

As a new Dad, four weeks of paternity leave is definitely not enough.  Especially when you’re just now getting the hang of parenthood and in my case, being able to fully focus on how to achieve my Fiancé’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 easily deliver C2C’s MVP. 

My evaluation guidelines when choosing a product were the following:

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've learned 🧐

Being a power couple is fun, especially when you’re able to bounce ideas off each other with no judgement.  Through trial and error, failing fast and passionately understanding each persona’s goals and frustrations; I finally built a working MVP, which is prime and ready for beta testing.  I’ve learned to architect a scalable code-free web app, while trying to understand why hackers from Estonia are attempting DDOS attacks on our landing page; that ‘s another story in itself! Through hands-on experience in web development, implementing UI/UX best practices, and bridging the knowledge gap on information security bodes well for C2C’s next chapter and my journey maturing as a Full Stack Product Manager.