Designing a comprehensive framework to improve customer comprehension, standardize quality, and accelerate inspection processes for strata reports

role
User Research, UX Design, UI Design, Design Systems
tools
Figma, Mixpanel, Microsoft Teams, Miro
the challenge

The value of standardizing Strata Reports

Before You Bid (BYB) is an Australian platform that connects inspectors, real estate agents, and potential buyers, streamlining the exchange of property due diligence reports.

A key service they offer is facilitating the purchase of Strata Reports, which are typically created by independent inspectors.

These inspectors use different methods in completing their reports, resulting to inconsistent detail and depth across reports. BYB identified an opportunity to standardize these reports, aiming to improve reliability and usability.

They faced the following key tasks:
Create a Standardized Template
Design a template that merges the best elements of top reports that simplifies terms and clarifies jargon.

Design a Flexible Form Builder
Develop a versatile tool to gather essential data but allows inspectors enough flexibility to avoid liability concerns.
Samples of Strata Reports with varied formats
research & execution

What's a good strata report?

Photos from interviews conducted
A good Strata report assesses a property's financial health, maintenance history, and future plans. This standard was determined by analyzing top reports and consulting with inspectors, buyers, conveyancers, and stakeholders.
Here are key identified users and their pain points for the template we wanted to create:
Property Agents
Struggle with inconsistent report formats, complicating property comparisons.

Buyers
Reports are overly technical and lengthy, making them difficult to understand.

How we standardized our template based on insights

In our effort to standardize Strata Reports, we began by reviewing existing templates and compiling a list of necessary fields and inputs. These fields were then organized into clear sections, and the overall structure was validated with key stakeholders.
Reports analyzed
Reviewing reports
Through an iterative process, we carefully balanced the intuitive aspects of how inspectors fill out reports with the clarity buyers needed to understand the reports.

A crucial consideration was to maintain the report's neutrality. Before You Bid wanted to provide a comprehensive template but the report findings would always be provided by the inspector.
Document Checklist
Indicates quality of inspection, informs the buyer the documents their inspector had access to.
Glossary
Added to clarify jargon, ensuring all buyers, regardless of prior knowledge, can understand all terms used.
Regulations Reference
Automatically attached to report to inform buyers on relevant property laws.
Report Summary
Highlights the key findings from the inspection, drawing immediate attention to the most critical issues.
the next challenge

How inspectors are currently completing Strata Reports

Photos from interviews conducted
We conducted further interviews with Inspectors to understand their behaviors and reviewed existing tools they already use to create their reports. Here are key insights:
Frustration with missing documents
They often experience delays in completing reports due to missing documents and unresponsive strata managers, with the follow-up process both frustrating and time-consuming.

Liability concerns
They stressed their caution during report preparation, where they focus on precise language and specific disclaimers to safeguard themselves against potential liability issues.
feature scoping

What do we prioritize?

With an understanding of how Inspectors create their reports and the tools they use in the process, we identified features we wanted for our own software.

We then measured and ranked each feature by three standards: value to users, value to business, and tech feasibility.
wireframes

Our screens in wireframes

Wireframes were crafted to experiment with different information architecture options. This step allows informed decision-making in designing new screens that effectively help our users in completing tasks and achieving their goals.
visual design

Designing our UI

With the UX process validated, we advanced to the user interface design phase.

A design library was created, including typography, colors, components, and basic interaction rules to ensure a cohesive and intuitive user experience throughout the software.

colors

Our colors uses the 60-30-10 color guideline, which allocates percentages to the dominant, secondary, and accent colors, for a visually balanced color selection and distribution.

typography

We use Avenir, a clean and modern font with weights Roman, Medium, and Heavy. We have a base value font of 16px with 1.25 (Major Third) as our scale to determine font sizes.

components

Basic UI components were built to define expected interactions for a cohesive experience throughout the platform.
Button
Input Fields
Modals
prototype

Testing interaction design

Prototypes were prepared once visual assets were ready.
These prototypes were also tested with Inspectors.
reflections

Design guided by research

This project presented the unique challenge of designing for a country and industry that is completely new to me. The Australian real estate industry has their own set of norms and best practices that I needed to get familiar with quickly.

Nevertheless, creating a research plan and identifying ambiguities upfront was helpful in maintaining a focused discovery process.

I also cannot stress how vital it was to stay closely connected to our users to ensure our project was moving in the right track and that we were always creating a product aligned with user needs.