Project Overview

Renthost is a student housing platform that makes it easier for students and landlords to communicate with each other for off-campus housing. As the product lead, I worked on improving the landing pages to highlight the unique features. I interviewed current and potential users, improved the copy writing and built the new site based on my design mockup.

VIEW Website
Renthost is no longer available, but you can view the archived site

role

Website Designer

TOOLS

Balsamiq, Sketch, Invision, Google Forms

TIMELINE

Feb 2016 - March 2016

DELIVERABLES

Design Mockups
Website Implementation

The Challenge

The current home page and sign up pages for Renthost were not transitioning visitors into signed up members. In addition, the number of daily visitors was adequate but the bounce rate was high and sign ups were low.

Improve the retention of visitors and increase the conversion rate of signups

The Outcome

To improve the sign up experience, the new home page accommodates both students and landlords. Both roles can take immediate action or sign up to learn more. In addition, the newly designed sign up pages have improved copy and product screenshots to demonstrate the user value.

The redesign helped the Renthost brand become more authentic and increased the clarity of its message. Over 100 students signed up within 2 months and the bounce rate went down by 30%

Split homepage

Signup page

Learning more about landlords and students

To gather more information about the problems that students/landlords face, I called many landlords through our platform and reached out online. Sending out surveys to students across different universities as well, I had a better understanding of their actual problems vs the problems I personally faced as a renter.

Design

Creating a temporary pre-launch website

Since a few of the website features being advertised were still being developed, I decided it would be better to hold off on allowing users to explore the site and collect their emails instead to notify them of the official launch.

Testing this simple design with a few people, it was mostly positive reviews about the design and usability, but people voiced concerns about an auto-playing video being too overwhelming.

Liked the background image
Auto-playing video being too overwhelming

When coming up with the content, I wanted to make the brand tone feel more human and conversational. As a small company, showing personality and relating to the user’s needs can be a huge differentiator vs the big companies marketing speak.

Old

New

New Copy for the pre-launch page

Making small changes with the feedback I received, the pre-launch landing page was ready to be used.

Old Landing Page

New Landing Page

Improving the site structure

With the pre-launch website live and new features in development, it was time to understand how the current website structure and make it more accommodating for the dual-user marketplace. Taking inspiration from Lyft and Taskrabbit, I created a new sitemap to connect the different pages and how they all link together.

Accommodating both students and landlords in addition to existing users and new users

A new landing page to accommodate both users

One of the main issues with the previous landing page was who this website is for? At this early stage, it was important to attract landlords as well in order to continue populating the site with more listings. To make it crystal clear about the different roles, I decided to present both sides and make it easier to navigate to the preferred page.

Increasing sign up conversion

In order to provide immediate value, students are able to freely view and search for listings without signing up. Once they find a listing they like and want to message the landlord, they are prompted to sign in or sign up. The current sign up page was simply the same layout at the login page and didn’t provide a welcoming experience.

Old Sign-up Page

Looking to improve sign-up conversion, I created sign-up landing pages that actually showcase product screenshots and let users learn more about the value they are getting to encourage signing up.

New Sign-up Page

Welcoming language
Product screenshots
Welcoming language
Comfortable layout with whitespace
Welcoming language

Final Results

At the beginning stages of a company, the initial user experience is crucial to acquire users and grow the product. Having clear and concise messaging allows visitors to understand the product value quickly. This landing page redesign enabled the Renthost brand to become more sophisticated and reputable as the company scaled.

VIEW Website
Renthost is no longer available, but you can view the archived site

Key Takeaways

Through this whole process, I learned a lot about the different needs of our users and how important usability is for new products. While the app itself had many great features, it was useful to overhaul the initial pages that users see. With these new landing and sign up pages, it grew the brand and gave it a more reputable identity.

  1. Pay attention to your choice of words and language
    With Renthost, I wanted the brand to be perceived as friendly and relatable. The language along with the colours represented that.
  2. Keep making progress with incremental updates
    It’s better to make a mistake and get feedback than waiting to get it perfect.
  3. Don’t reinvent the wheel
    I know this isn’t the first or last dual marketplace website. Using known strategies that are specific to my use case helped a lot.

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