Cameron Collis
Future-proofing Pocket

The Pocket MVP launched 6 months before I joined the team at Rex Software. It was lightweight, unpolished and lacking functionality. It was exactly what an MVP needed to be.

Pocket’s primary users are Real Estate agents. Who spend a lot of time travelling from appointment to appointment. Opening homes for inspection, meeting sellers, and signing contracts. Pocket gave Real Estate agents access to their CRM when they were out of the office, away from their desktop.

Pocket’s usability problems

While conducting qualitative and quantitative research for other projects. I discovered usability problems, mostly workflow related, which stem from the Pocket homepage.

In my spare time I began tinkering with Pocket’s homepage. Creating new layouts, and concepts. I believed a few minor fixes could dramatically improve the Pocket experience. Two changes were made in the first iteration.

Left - MVP homepage. Right - First iteration.

These quick fixes didn't solve our problems

The new concept was well received by the team, but there were still some outstanding problems.

A refreshed homepage

Adding a bottom tab bar to Pocket improves navigation and helps align the Rex and Pocket experience. The three tabs from left to right are home, search and actions. The user can now search for a record, or perform an action anytime in Pocket, just as they can in Rex.

Straight away when opening Pocket, users see a high level overview of their daily reminders and their next appointment. Selecting the raised daily agenda takes the user to a more detailed view of their reminders and schedule for the day.

Beneath the daily agenda is Pocket's main navigation menu. Which is identical to the navigation menu in Rex. Helping to align the Pocket and Rex experiences, and allowing Rex and Pocket to scale with the same architecture.

Quickly view daily reminders and appointments

Completing reminders between appointments is a common behaviour of Real Estate Agents using Pocket. When speaking to users many believed it was the best use of their free time. They always seemed to have a spare 10 minutes between appointments they didn't want to waste. In the new design, an agent's daily reminders are one click away from the homepage. Here they can complete and check the status of their reminders and more importantly, they can stay productive when out of the office. Users also needed to be able to quickly view their schedule for the day, which is also available from their daily agenda.

Navigating to a record

Users often navigate to a contact, property or listing record to view or edit information, or to perform to the record. It's a task repeated dozens of times a day. It needs to be simple and intuitive.

The search page is accessible from the bottom tab bar. Here the user can select the search bar, revealing the keyboard and beginning their search.

Listed below the search bar are recently opened contacts, properties and listings. Intentionally presented in the same format as the Pocket MVP (horizontal scroll for contacts, vertical scroll for properties and listings). It’s important the new design has some familiarity with the old design, to ease the users learning curve.

The search bar sticks to the top of the screen when scrolling. Providing quick access to the search functionality at any point on the page.

Performing an action

The action page went through many iterations. Most were over-designed, and didn’t meet the objectives. In the end, laying out the actions in a three-by-three grid worked best. Displaying all actions exactly the same way is overwhelming for users. The goal is to not bombard users with actions, but to reduce cognitive load.

The 'adding' and 'communication' actions are different colours. This is so users perceive the nine actions as two separate groups, and not one overwhelming list. When familiar with the layout. Users will instinctively go to the top or bottom group to select an action.

The user’s action history is below the action grid. The action history is a new concept, introduced to make editing and finding recent actions easier. Revealing the recent actions allows users to view or edit these actions from a single place. Instead of the time intensive workflow of searching for a record, and then the action.

Like the search page, the raised action grid sticks to the top of the screen when scrolling.