DNA Service Exchange Club (Case Study)


DNAinfo is exploring development of an application to search and hire local freelancers and potentially help connect users to exchange services. They have requested a 'mobile first' approach.


As a UX team of one, conduct research to help guide DNAinfo's new product leading to User Journeys and Wireframes ahead of an MVP.

How Do People Search?

Beginning with a high-level research plan we gather an understanding of how users conduct their searches and see how our results can direct the overall product.

A series of interviews were conducted within the vicinity of Prospect Park / Park Slope vicinity in Brooklyn.

Interview Takeaways:

  • Users search across multiple devices
  • Online searches are conducted over a period of time (Amazon, etc) with results later being weighed ahead of a decision
  • Local discovery is often conducted by foot and line of sight - a display window, storefront, etc.
  • Peer and community groups also play an important role to both affirm and query local resources
  • Freelancers services are often associated with design and creative work
  • Local hires are often influenced by word-of-mouth recommendations
  • Value and fairness often make up the evaluative criteria in any exchange

Competitive Analysis:


Markets itself to freelancers and hirers within the tech space. Freelancers are looking for ways to exhibit their talent and find work and employers are looking for ways to assess and hire based their needs and confidence on the prospective freelancer.

DNA Service Exchange Club (DNASEC) fits in a similar space though should have more of a sense of location and community.

    Browsing Reviews
  • Top Navbar Clear
  • Tag-based Navigation as you browse listings
  • sliding fee charged to freelancer of 20%, 10%, or 5% seems very steep
  • no real sense of location or community
  • hourly rates vary and some seem too low
  • bland overall design of site
  • quality of job postings seem questionable

&& Internal payment / billing service, large global network, robust filter / searching system.

Working Not Working

Takes pride in curating the freelancers they work with and provides monthly membership plans for the hirers. Working WORKING distinguishes itself by offering access to premium jobs and high-end creative services among their network of employers and freelancers.

Audience consists of Freelancers that would like to work on larger projects or higher-end jobs & Employers who are looking for vetted talent to work with.

  • smart and intelligent copy met with great visuals / design
  • high production landing page video
  • gamified parts of sign-up process ie: “contender”
  • free for creatives
  • initially the site seems a bit intimidating and the entry point may appear too steep for many
  • unclear what the evaluative process is like for membership

&& slick design / premium jobs / memorable membership process / very selective regarding creatives

Task Rabbit

Aimed squarely at those taskers and hirers interested in home repair and improvement services. Hirers are looking to turn over a small home-task in an immediate window. Taskers are looking for a way to pick up nearby tasks and coordinate with hirers to get the job done.

  • Communication within the application works exceptionally well
  • On-boarding for taskers in select cities
  • Invoicing System & Ratings
  • Robust Looking Support center
  • Quality of Tasker Varies

&& immediate hires / well-designed mobile app / location based

User Roles


ISO prospective clients and wants to share projects


ISO the right person for a job.


freelancer + hirer

As indicated in the research our interviewees showed some healthy skepticism regarding an exchange and questioned whether it might be worthwhile (equal & fair). Given this response, our focus is on building out the freelancer and hirer roles, later adding an exchange feature as customized extension of both. Our goal here is to build out the search and browse features for each role and to test the usability of our application.

Initial User Flow

Looking first at our hirer, we wish to foster engagement and discovery through the act of browsing. Using an image-based approach user are encouraged to scroll, swipe, and inspect profies to allow for a quick scan and overview of skill sets before exploring further. Registered users will have access to a robust dashboard which is a repository to organize, evaluate and contact bookmarked users as well as share / view favorited projects.

User Personas


  • Post Profile
  • Post Portfolio Items

Samuel Adkins
29, Windsor Terracefocused / independent / creative
Adkins has worked on numerous commercial and independent projects as a director of photography. He works largely as a freelancer and travels extensively for work. He lives with his partner in a small co-op by Prospect Park.

device & technology profile

macbook pro / imac / iwatch / iphone

Vimeo, Youtube, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Swarm, Gmail
- Scheduling
- find things in a hurry
- Researching Options


  • Explore & Save Listings
  • Contact Freelancer

Lena Carroll
Museum Registrar
37, Park Slopefocused / independent / creative
Lena Carroll is a exhibition registrar at the New Museum and has lived in Park Slope for the last six years. She has one two year old daughter and is active in the neighborhood block association. She occasionally shops locally for boutique items and regularly purchases bulk house-goods via amazon.

device & technology profile

iphone / ipad / macbook pro

New York Times, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Gmail
- Learning new apps
- Being efficient with time
- Researching Options
- Meeting Neighbors

User Journey

Lena Carroll

Design Principles






Next Steps

Develop more research to find which profile types are best paired for an exchange of services. Design the profile types so that they are attracted to one another in order to maximize the possibility of an exchange.

  • Wireframes for skill-specific profile archetypes
  • Adlib style profile creation
  • Design and style guide
  • Outline and understand user flows for profile types in more detail
  • Prototype and usability testing

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