Visitor and Community Management System
NoBrokerHOOD is a major project that I worked on during my time at the real-estate startup NoBroker as a Senior UX Designer. It is a novel end-to-end community management system aimed at apartments and gated communities that helps keep track of security, visitor management, staff management, maintenance, and much more.
I was part of a small team consisting of 2 UX Designers and 1 Visual Designer and we worked closely with the Director of Product Management and the CTO. The visual language was largely defined by the Visual Designer, Mohammed Gouse. In the following sections, I will first give an overview of the overall system followed by a description of only the modules and features that I worked on.
In large apartments and gated communities, despite employing security guards, keeping track of all the people coming in and going out is a logistical nightmare leading to security lapses. We noticed that such inadequate management of visitor entries create a lot of problems for residents, such as unauthorized visitor entries and vehicle parking, and maintaining service staff attendance. Another problematic area we identified was when security guards had to get approval via intercom calls from residents to allow their guests in, which could be a hassle when they're busy with other tasks.
Create a product to make life more convenient and secure for residents in any housing society. Enable apartments, residential buildings, housing societies, and gated communities to manage various activities such as security management, monitoring visitor entry, automating staff and domestic help entry, finding domestic help(maids, cooks, drivers), and pre-authorising guest visits— all through the use of an app.
Our product and design team interviewed several apartment residents and society managers to find out what are the most pressing issues and needs they currently have. We also interviewed security guards to find out about the needs and issues from their perspective. Following this we visited guards at societies where other competing solutions were being used, and observed their usage.
NoBrokerHOOD consists of 3 major modules/apps:
These three apps work together in synergy. Security guards use the Guard app for visitor tracking and getting resident approvals, residents use the Resident app to approve requests, track staff attendance, raise an SOS, find domestic help and much more. The Management Dashboard is used by apartment managers who can approve staff, create/update entries for staff and residents, and send notices.
The Resident apps (for the residents of the hosuing complex) are on both Android and iOS, the Guard App (for the security guards) is Android-only, and the Management Dashboard is a web app. I was responsible for the design of the Guard app, Management Dashboard and some features of the Resident App.
This app would installed on an Android device (provided by us) which would be with the security guard(s) at the gate. The main requirements for the Guard App were as follows:
- The primary job of the security guards at the gate is to check-in the people coming in and checking them out when they leave. Provide a seamless way to do so.
- Should account for the various type of visitors— delivery executives, pre-invited guests, and also pre-approved, staff such as maids, cooks, and drivers.
- It is crucial that it should be easy to navigate and understand since the target audience might not be very tech savvy. We also included an added benefit that our Sales executives would train the security guards when the product is being deployed at a client site.
- Design should account for multi-language support since most security guards might not be well versed with English and our app would be deployed in cities across India with different primary languages.
The primary activities of the guard are:
- Check-in visitor(all kinds) => Entry tab
- Ask for resident approval to let a guest in => Waiting tab
- Check-out visitor => Exit tab
The different kinds of visitors are handled in different ways in the app:
Frequent and regular visitors like house help, nannies, drivers, cooks, etc. and staff on the apartment payroll have to be registered in the system the first time.
- This can be done on the guard app in the "Add New Service" section and they would then get added to the system.
- We also offered an option that could be enabled in the Management Dashbaord, where after addition by a guard, the visitor still has to get approval from a separate authority such as a building. In this case, after addition, the visitor would have to be approved by the manager through the dashboard (based on id proof).
- After this registration (and approval), a unique code will be issued to this visitor that they need to use to check-in at the gate everytime.
- An offered enhancement would be biometric intergration, so that the check-in can be done using a biometric sensor.
- One time visitors like delivery executives, or cabs have to be checked in by entering their phone number followed by other details during the first visit. If the visitor has come before then details will auto-populate once they enter their phone number. Can be pre-approved by residents. Residents can also tell the guards in-app to collect the parcel on their behalf.
- Visiting Guests can be invited in advance by residents using their phone, in which case they will be sent a check-in code that can be used to check-in at the gate. If not, security guards will taake down the details of the guest and ask for resident approval before letting them in.
Waiting for approval
After entering the details, if the visitor is not pre-approved, then security guards need to wait for resident approval before letting the visitor enter. The resident can choose to approve or deny the visitor. If the approval request times out, then security guards can manually contact the resident (via phone or intercom) to ask for approval.
When a visitor/staff leaves, the security guard needs to check them out on the Exit screen.
Management DashboardThe Management Dashboard is used by an administrator or manager to maintain the apartment's data. The following operations are conducted in the dashboard:
- Staff approvals
- Manage Noticeboard — Send notices to residents.
- Manage flats — Add, update and delete occupancy status, intercom/phone, resident details, assigned parking.
- Manage Staff — Add, update and delete details of staff employed by the society (such as security guard, gardener, etc.)
- Manage services — Add, update and delete details of people hired by residents (house help, driver, nanny, etc.) and other regular utility visitors (milkman, newspaper vendor, etc.).
- View and audit visitor records.
- Track staff attendance