Maintenance Reporting Mobile App
In January and February 2016, the University of London (UoL) undertook a five-week discovery project to explore user needs around a maintenance reporting app for one the UK’s leading providers of student accommodation. I ran a series of one-to-one interviews and focus groups, collected and analysed 200+ survey responses, and conducted site visits to understand the needs of students and staff who would be using the app.
My research found that while residents would like to submit maintenance requests through a mobile app, they also want the app to deal with various wellbeing and welfare issues (e.g. noise complaints; referrals for medical/dental services; delivery/mail pickup). However, the client’s complex, manual, paper-driven processes and systems could not properly support an app. For example, residents wanted to know when someone would fix their issue, when someone had visited their residence, and what work was done. However, maintenance staff had limited access to technology while on-site, could only issue paper receipts, and had to write their notes on job sheets that were then scanned and saved as a non-searchable PDFs.
Therefore, I recommended that the client pause further app design and development, improve their back-end systems and processes with new software, and focus on quick-wins - specifically, creating a mobile-optimised website, introducing live chat functionality, and focusing on student well-being and welfare services. I also recommended that they revisit this project a year later as they will have completed a project to rollout a new release for their existing maintenance and asset tracking software.
Please note that while I cannot make research outputs for this project publicly available, upon request I can share high-level insights and the summary presentation I gave to the senior leadership team.