The initial idea was quite complex and then brutally simple, as I wanted to ensure it was scope that would actually get DONE.
This led to the early versions of four season cards with three tasks on each. The project was more or less entirely task-based, but trying desperately to avoid becoming a to do list. It felt like a pack of cards, with lots of editorial about tasks.
My questionnaire revealed an option I added on a whim as one of the most appealing features: having somewhere to store details for tradespeople. This feature ballooned through user testing, as it became obvious how your most important and valuable tasks were almost always tasks you need Pros for.
The next progression was realising we could just go and find Pros for our users if they didn’t have them. Pay us and we’ll just attach them in your account. This isn’t in the current version, but feels a natural thing to reintroduce soon.
People ask for recommendations for tradespeople all the time in Facebook/ WhatsApp community groups. So it felt obvious to build this in: write a little default text and add in the type of Pro they are looking for and users could copy and paste it to get recommendations.
Deep into my final Bubble version, I got ChatGPT to teach me about URL parameters and made a new kind of page. Instead of a world where people’s recommendations were plain text or VCF contact cards, why not let them write the details in and save directly to the user’s account?
The downside of this led me to another realisation: this actually takes some value out of those groups. Our users ask for help and receive a secret that nobody else can benefit from.
And that’s what led to HouseHeld Exchange. Whenever you share your URL to ask for a recommendation, people can suggest a Pro — but they can also see a list of all the Pros you already have and save them for their own projects. Or, if they don’t have a HouseHeld account, they can create a new account with ALL your Pros.
Taking this one step further, I went through a couple of local Facebook groups and noted all the Pros who came up again and again. I added these to a list and titled it with the name of the place, and a nice header picture. Now, anyone in that group can save all the most recommended Pros with the click of a button.
And if they hate HouseHeld, they can just see all the details and contact the Pros the old-fashioned way. Everyone wins.
The Bubble prototype that became my v1.0 coincided with a great deal of streamlining. Because I decided not to add any features until the existing ones were all genuinely working, it forced a new discipline: start with what was important.
Tons of the editorial disappeared. This might be a mistake, but the “job” cards were becoming a nightmare of info overload and burying the features that helped people get things done — like Pro management. Essentially, helping people easily get Pros working for them felt like the quickest route to get jobs done. Not tons of DIY info.
Automation throughout the product includes:
- Automatically write the message to ask for quotes, including any notes you have on the task
- Recurring tasks will come back year after year — and will soon automatically contact the Pro for you to get potential times
- Every Season you receive a list of the jobs that don’t have a clear next action in progress to make sure they get done.
- If you have a Pro attached from a previous task, you can just email them directly.