Mobile App to Simplify the Home Renting Process
Industry : Real Estate
There are many situations when renting a product is far more economical than buying a new one. For instance, if you’re planning to shift to a different city for a few months, you would probably choose to rent the furniture (and other essential household items) for the duration.
This won’t put a burden on your pocket and you’ll be able to get all the required products easily. Not to mention, renting will also save you from the tedious task of transporting the items back home, once your stay comes to an end.
Being an avid traveler, Tron Vu knew the increasing demand for rental services and wanted to build a global marketplace where people could rent properties, things, and even hire a skilled workforce (such as drivers, developers, photographers, etc.). He approached RV Technologies with his idea - TimeRnR (Time Reserve and Rent - and asked us to build a cross-platform app that would make renting easier for the users.
So, after a few meetings and the regular interview process, our developers embarked on a journey of bringing “TimeRnR” to life so that people could easily rent properties, things, and buy various services.
Every new project throws multiple challenges at the development team. With TimeRnR, however, there were some additional challenges, mainly due to its extensive usability. Since the app was being targeted towards both service providers and consumers, it was important to provide features according to the user’s profile.
For instance, service providers could only rent out items/services whereas consumers could choose from the available options. However, since we were only supposed to design a standalone app, we didn’t have the liberty to create separate variants for consumers and service providers. Instead, the development team had to think of a way that would allow users to create two different profiles and switch between them easily.
Some of the additional challenges with Time Reserve and Rent included:
1. Admin Panel Apart from the traditional consumer/service provider profile, Tron also wanted to create a dedicated admin panel where the admin could control the overall performance of the app. Since the admin would have the authority to add product categories/subcategories and manage listings at the same time, it was crucial to keep the layout navigable.
Like any other mobile app that supports monetary transactions, we needed to make sure that TimeRnR offers a secure environment for online payments. Tron also wanted to add a built-in wallet, which meant it became more crucial to use the right encryption mechanisms to offer complete security to users.
How We Succeeded in Building a Cross-Platform Renting App for TimeRnR?
As soon as we were clear with our challenges, the design team stepped forward to create wireframes for the app’s UI. Our main objective was to keep the user interface visually appealing and easy to navigate so that users spend more time browsing through different features of the app. The designers worked closely with Tron to finalize the mock UI and then designed different layouts accordingly.
Once designers were ready with the initial UI, our developers jumped in and started working on the backend to offer the desired functionality to the app. Keeping the usability and user experience our top priorities, we integrated the following features into TimeRnR.
- Social Media Logins
- User-Friendly Home Layout
- Switch to Service Provider
- Well-Optimized Navigation Bar
- Maps API Integration
- Search Filters
- Messaging Support
- Payment Management
1 Social Media Logins
Having worked on a wide range of mobile apps, our developers knew that users don’t really have time to complete a lengthy sign-up process, especially in case of emergencies.
That’s why apart from the traditional “Registration” process, we also integrated social media logins to allow users to directly create their TimeRnR accounts using their social media profiles on Facebook, Gmail, and Instagram. It’s one of the minor features that could enhance the overall customer retention rate for any smartphone app.
2 User-Friendly Layout
After completing the sign-up/login process, users would be redirected to the home page of the app. Since the home page would act as the “first impression” of the application, we kept it as engaging as possible. At the center, users could choose between one of the three tabs (Places, Things, and People). At the top-right corner, users could select the country and their current location. While moving abroad, users could also change the selected country easily.
3 Switch Service Provider
As we mentioned earlier, allowing users to switch between consumer and service provider profiles was the biggest challenge for our developers. To tackle this, we integrated a simple “Toggle Switch” that would instantly switch to the other profile and display respective features accordingly.
We placed the “Toggle Switch” inside the navigation bar to ensure that users could easily access it. As soon as the user would click on the “Switch to Service Provider” toggle, his navigation menu and the home page would change instantly to display his listings along with their status.
4 Optimized Navigation Bar
To keep the user interface clean and clutter-free, we added many features inside the navigation bar that could be accessed by tapping the “Menu” icon at the top-left corner. Inside the navigation menu, the user could access different information such as payment methods, notifications, and their listings.
New users could tap the “Become a Service Provider” button to set up their secondary profile as the service provider and add new listings. While creating the “Service Provider” profile, users could also add their exclusive skills if they want to be hired by a consumer. Adding skills would help them unlock more work opportunities.
5 Maps API Integration
Whether the users decide to rent a place, thing, or even hire a service provider, they would see the location on their screen and reach the destination more conveniently. To achieve this goal, the development team integrated Google Maps API (for Android) and Apple’s MapKit (for iOS).
The moment any user would click on a specific item or place (apartment or hotel), he/she’d see a dedicated information tab containing the images, regular information, and its location on the screen. From here, the user could easily rent the place or item by selecting the duration via the Calendar.
6 Search Filters
To help users find the desired items, services, or places more quickly, we added a “Search Filter” that would allow them to customize the search results as per their preferences. Once the user taps on one of the three tabs (Places, Things, People) on the home screen, the app will prompt them to the respective listings.
At the top of the screen, the user would see all the categories for the specific tab and could select some of them to filter the search results. With the search filter, it would become way easier for the users to find desired items and services.
7 Messaging Support
During the initial analysis, we were pretty clear that the app would require a dedicated communication channel so that users and service providers could easily communicate with each other.
To achieve this goal, we integrated dedicated Chat APIs and utilized SDKs to build a custom Inbox for TimeRnR. Users could easily access the inbox by clicking the icon at the bottom menu. Apart from accessing all the chats, users could also delete irrelevant chats by swiping them left.
8 Payment Management
Finally, to offer a secure payment environment, we utilized Braintree’s payment gateway API for both iOS and Android versions of the app. Being a popular payment gateway, Braintree would provide additional security layers for users who’d want to add their bank details while paying for items/services. The users could also transfer their earnings from the Wallet to their respective banks using the same payment interface by Braintree.
A Premium Online Marketplace With 5-star Ratings on both Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store
When a unique idea meets excellence, the resulting product most likely becomes a huge success. The same happened with TimeRnR. With Vu’s unique concept and the continuous efforts of our developers, we were able to build a community-supported marketplace that helped thousands of users rent properties, products, and avail of different services. The app has become extensively popular across different corners of the world so much so that it has managed to acquire a 5-star rating on both Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store within a year.
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