In response to changing homeowner needs and the emerging threat of nimble startup competitors, Indianapolis-based Angie’s List began exploring alternative business models in 2016.
The company’s new CEO, Scott Durchslag, challenged his team to “raise the bar for delivering a great local services experience for consumers and service providers alike.”
In response to Durchslag’s challenge, Anand Tharanathan, Vice President of User Experience, Design and Innovation, brought Studio Science on board to help discover and act on a holistic view of their audience’s unique needs, desires and experiences.
Tharanathan and his team recognized that they didn’t have a complete picture of the home improvement and services ecosystem, one that took into account the experiences of customers around and outside of the company’s paywall gated website. This made it increasingly hard to identify new opportunities for growth.
In order to find new ways to satisfy customer needs and expectations, and to continue thriving as a business, Angie’s List needed insights and tools that would help them understand and act on the complete customer journey—before, during, and after a home improvement project, including what people think and feel along the way. Deep experience with people-centered design and digital product design made Studio Science an ideal partner.
Studio Science utilized a Design Research approach that incorporated an array of discovery techniques intended to elicit from people their needs, wants and desires. Our team conducted more than thirty one-on-one sessions with both customers and non-customers, using card sorting and visual concept mapping activities to reveal and reconcile what people say and what people actually do.
These workshops produced a large amount of qualitative data, which Studio Science used to generate experience models and maps that made the data communicative and actionable. We shared these insights by facilitating a collaborative, day-long workshop with representatives from teams across Angie’s List, including: User Experience, Product Management, Marketing, Research and Technology.
This collaborative workshop was designed to reveal previously unimagined opportunities, and produce a wide range of ideas and prototypes around new projects, services and business models.
The results of this initiative were revelatory to the Angie’s List team, and the findings, some of which were contradictory to previously held beliefs, were embraced. The company achieved a new and vastly more complete perspective of the people they serve and, perhaps more importantly, the people they don’t yet serve.
Our discoveries showed that searching for a service provider—Angie’s List’s historical focus—is only one part of people’s larger journey when it comes to home improvement and repair. When Studio Science provided a more complete picture of their customers’ journeys, Angie’s List was able to identify new opportunities for growth, including new web and mobile experiences, a huge transition toward a freemium model, and critical company roadmap materials targeted toward investors.