You’re building a software product from scratch and your team has about a thousand ideas for new and exciting features. How do you determine which features will make it for the first release, which belong in future releases and which features simply won’t make the roadmap?

Immoscoop is one of the leading online real-estate platforms in Belgium. You might have guessed it: they are rebuilding their platform … from scratch! Amongst the many features sported by the platform there is a single crucial one: showcasing houses that are relevant to a specific user. However, this seemingly “simple” feature raised an equally simple but crucial design question:

How do people specify their housing criteria?

The Immoscoop team identified two groups of search filters (i.e. basic and advanced)  that enable users to specify their criteria. Before developing all sixteen of these filters they decided to build a prototype of the platform’s search functionality and test it with users to determine which filters were essential, optional or redundant.

Beyond Clickable Prototyping

To test how people search for houses on the platform it was crucial to test using a high-fidelity prototype. This prototype would not merely mock searching behavior but enable users to actually search for houses in a minimal database. This search would be based on their real-life preferences.

Starting from a Figma design, Immoscoop decided to use weave.ly to turn the design into a functional web app. You can try out the app and check out its original design in Figma below.

Validating at Scale

In collaboration with Buffl we enlisted 100 people that are currently looking to buy or rent a new house. These people were tasked to find their ideal house using the Immoscoop prototype. The data analytics embedded in weave.ly enabled Immoscoop to track how users navigated the prototype and which filters were most used.

Mapping the user flows of 100+ sessions
Click ordering on a single screen

 

These analytics enabled Immoscoop gain insights and reduce the list of filters needed for an initial launch of their platform from sixteen to three. This saved their development team (5 FTEs) 2 weeks’ worth of development!

Overview of a single user session

Also want to run user tests using a functional prototype of your Figma design?

Weave.ly is a no-code prototyping and user research platform. It enables you to turn existing Figma designs into fully functional prototypes that automatically collect the usability data you need to support your user research and innovation efforts. Wondering how to use weave.ly in your next project? Try it out for yourself or have a chat with us.

It’s the summer of 2020, COVID-19 is still raging, and the Belgian government just mandated all dining facilities to keep tabs (names and contact information) on every person that visits their establishment. For the most part this happens by letting people write down their information on sheets of paper.

For the cantina of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, one of Belgium’s top universities, this causes serious concerns: from September on between 500 and 1500 people visit the cantina daily. Not only does the “pen and paper” approach pose serious scalability issues it also raises multiple data privacy concerns.

Is there an app for that?

The Vrije Universiteit Brussel contacted us to help them figure out a solution. There were two main questions:

  1. Would students and staff would be willing to check in digitally (this was before the rise of national COVID apps)?
  2. How could we build a digital check-in system that offered as little barriers to entry as possible to maximize usage amongst campus population?

We decided to build an MVP which would be tested for a week at the start of the academic year. Cantina visitors would be able to check in both digitally and on paper. In order to ensure maximal possible adoption we decided to go for a progressive web app, accessible by scanning QR-codes posted at the entrances and exits of the cantina. Upon scanning users are redirected to a page to provide their contact information (unless it was remembered from a previous check-in or check-out).

You can try out the app and check out its original design in Figma below.

Validating at Scale

Over the course of this first week upwards of 4000 people checked-in digitally using the MVP. Although a small minority continued to check in via paper, over 95% of check-ins happened digitally thereby answering the initial questions.

The Vrije Universiteit Brussel decided to further implement this check-in system over the entirety of its campus while also adding additional features (e.g. live headcounts, contact tracing, etc.). The system sported 1500 check-ins daily before it was eventually discontinued as the pandemic thankfully ended in 2022.

Also want to validate an MVP at scale from a Figma Design?

Weave.ly is a no-code prototyping and user research platform. It enables you to turn existing Figma designs into fully functional prototypes that automatically collect the usability data you need to support your user research and innovation efforts. Wondering how to use weave.ly in your next project? Try it out for yourself or have a chat with us.

Weave.ly has been selected out of 323 candidates to be part of the first wave of 2021 startups to be accelerated by StartIt@KBC. This one-year programme will enable the entire team to further hone personal skills through the many mentoring and educational sessions as well as accelerate weave.ly’s launch in general!  

Using weave.ly the Vrije Universiteit Brussel has developed a QR-based tracing platform enabling it to fight COVID outbreaks amongst students and staff, find out more in article by Bruzz

The VUB student restaurant strives to serve the best food possible to the largest number of staff and students during their limited lunch breaks. Ensuring people timely access to their lunches proved to be significantly more complex when the government required the VUB restaurant to keep a ledger of contact information of all their customers (i.e. as part of the measures taken to fight the COVID-19 pandemic). A first patch-up solution simply saw the students and staff write down their information on sheets of papers provided at the restaurant’s entrance. However, this solution already generated waiting lines for the 200-odd staff members eating their daily lunches over the (extraordinarily) quiet summer period. One week before the start of the academic year and with the imminent return of thousand of hungry students, it became apparent that managing these long queues would be near to impossible for Philippe Merckx (head of staff at the VUB restaurants) and his teams.

After a short discussion with Philippe he gave us a week to develop a system with the following requirements:

  • Throughput, throughput, throughput: Users should be able to provide their contact information as fast as possible, allowing them to enter the restaurant and get their lunch as fast as possible.
  • Low-barrier to entry: Staff and students shouldn’t be expected to start installing yet another app.
  • Real-time Statistics: Philippe was forced to restrict the available spots in the restaurant from the usual 1000 (+-) to a mere 400. It was important that staff and students could check how many spots were available at a given point in time.

Within this one-week timeframe we were able to build Philippe a production-ready digital registration system coupled to a real-time busyness indicator.

QR-based Registration à la weave.ly

We set off to design and build a system that would match Philippe’s requirements. More importantly, the goal was to build two MVPs. First, an MVP which we could test using a group of familiar volunteers at the Software Languages Lab. Second, an MVP which we could use to test in the intended environment (i.e. the restaurant). We developed both MVPs using weave.ly within the given timeframe of a week.

Two MVPs and a production-ready system in one week, how many sleepless night does that amount to? Zero to be exact, all thanks to the power of weave.ly. All it took the develop the final system are the components shown below!

The resulting system is simple but elegant. Students and staff scan a QR code upon entering the hall which redirects their browser to a webpage automatically generated by our platform. This webpage asks the user for their contact information after which this information is securely transmitted to our platform’s database. Furthermore, the fact that a new user checked in is directly reflected on a web dashboard containing a real-time business indicator. Upon leaving the dining hall the same user scans another QR code to signal their departure, thereby updating the busyness indicator.

Restaurants and beyond

At the time of writing a daily average of 600 people use the system to register across an ever-growing list of locations on VUB campuses (i.e. both in Etterbeek and Jette). Needless to say, letting all these people register manually would have been unfeasible! Meanwhile the added value of weave.ly has been made obvious to other VUB employees. As such, our QR registration system is soon to be used for all student activities and adapted to fit other scenarios within the VUB. Stay tuned!

Last month (2/09/2020) weave.ly’s very own Jesse Zaman and Florian Myter won second place at the pitch@vlerick event. The prizes include a wildcard to go pitch again at the iGMO launchpad event and a voucher for a challenge workshop and half a day of counseling organised by Deloitte!

Congratulations to Ethernetics for their well-deserved first place!