Trade services, Directory Services
Hipages is Australia’s leading site to hire tradespeople. With a commitment to always delivering value to both consumers and tradie members, Hipages were looking to understand how tradies, big and small, managed their businesses. The goal was to eventually use these insights to design a better, more customer-centric experience for tradies.
Our work on this project
It was important to establish research zones and very early on in the process, refine the scope of the research, especially with Hipages having over 80,000 tradie members. The areas of focus how tradies market their business, manage leads, quote, invoice and receive payment from customers, and then correlate this with business demographic data such as size, trade category and location.
Expiriti worked alongside Hipages’ Head of User Experience, VP of Product and Tradie Revenue representative.
Following a series of generative face-to-face interviews, “ride-along” contextual enquiry sessions and a large-sample preference research study, Hipages was better able to understand the unique customer journeys of tradies across the major categories (eg. Plumbing, Electrical, Cleaning, Painting, Pest Control, Tree Removal, etc) and how they differed in their behaviours, attitudes and goals in terms of business size and location.
Our research took us to inner city locations, suburban business premises as well as coastal business of various sizes. Riding along with tradies and observing as they responded to leads and quoted for jobs, yielded quite interesting (and sometimes surprising!) observations and data.
We sat in demountables with medium-sized businesses as they deployed arborists and electricians to various jobs.
Combining with preliminary consumer research
The broader customer ecosystem was now better understood, as the tradie research was combined with a previous study of Hipages consumers that Expiriti completed 12 months prior.
Personas taking shape
From the generative research, proto-personas were developed. Clear patterns were emerging about tradie segments differing by business size, trade category and business goals, as well as how they engaged with Hipages as a partner.
It’s important to note, that while clear patterns emerged during qualitative research, the proto-personas were still only considered as a draft. The qualitative assumptions derived from a small sample needed to be tested and confirmed with a much larger sample through preference (quantitative) research.
Power in numbers – surveying a sample of 5000+
Tradies love to talk! And this only expanded our vast array of research data collected in the interviews and field studies. We combined interview and observation data with some good old-fashioned dumpster diving.
There were many, many assumptions or hunches that came out from the initial qualitative research. And importantly, these hunches needed a larger sample-size study to validate them all.
We developed four different user surveys that contained the same demographic questions, but focused on different areas of the tradies’ journey including sign-up, marketing, quoting and receiving support.Each survey was then sent out to over 1250 participants in each segment, going beyond a simple A/B split, but rather, an A/B/C and D split!
Feeling validated – validating the assumptions of the generative research
The survey results were enlightening and helped us to confirm or deny what we had assumed about the different persona groups who use the Hipages service. The Hipages team created 4 main personas, each was distinguished by their trade, their business size and their primary business goals.
The research also enabled the team to draft a broad customer journey map that is now a central facet of their product backlog.
The detailed visual allows the product team to quickly focus on any key point in the customer journey to design and release a new addition to the Hipages experience
Where to next? Applying the UX Research
With such detailed insight into the daily life of their tradies, Hipages now sits in the unique position of being able to design very user-centred products that meet the immediate and long-term needs of small, medium and larger tradie customers.
Hipages’ product, design and engineering teams are comprised of some of Australia’s most talented digital professionals. They’ve already begun releasing new payment systems, intuitive consumer-to-tradie matching services, customer rating initiatives and several more unique experiences for their two main customer groups.