Giving the RV world the tech it deserves.

The mobile app that our company needed to survive.

Role

Lead Designer & Product Manager

Tools

Figma, GA4 Analytics, CrazyEgg

Deliverable

An MVP Mobile App for Hosts

What is Cabana? Think AirBnb for the RV world.

Cabana is a hospitality startup that has specializes in mobile hospitality, allowing anyone to rent a campervan & enjoy spontaneous travel at the fraction of the cost. Having raised over $15M, Cabana was spreading across the US and developing four software products to empower the modern RV-lover.

The Problem

Over 75% of Cabana hosts manage their business from their mobile phone.

At Cabana, we had just launched our Host program where businesses can sign up to build their own fleet of Cabana vans. In my weekly calls with our hosts, it came to my attention that most of our existing partners prefer to manage their business from their phone, as much as possible. They seldom have the chance to pull out their laptop and work on a day to day basis, and being able to perform important functions from their phone would be extremely helpful.

But we only have a desktop application...

At the moment, Cabana hosts  use our web app Backoffice platform to manage their fleet, which was only accessible on desktop. Through my conversations with hosts, it became clear that we needed to compact our web app into a mobile friendly version for our current and incoming hosts.

The Goal: Compact our desktop software into a mobile app to scale our host program quickly.

At the moment, Cabana hosts  use our web app Backoffice platform to manage their fleet, which was only accessible on desktop. Through my conversations with hosts, it became clear that we needed to compact our web app into a mobile friendly version for our current and incoming hosts.

Building this app was a crucial step in scaling our host program rapidly over the next few months, and was a key component of raising our next venture round of funding. We needed to build this app, and built it fast.

User Research: How do our hosts use our current software?

I setup discovery calls with our existing hosts to get a better grasp at how they used our backoffice desktop software. I also sat down with our internal operations team, since they had the most knowledge of how our desktop software "backoffice"  is used on a day to day basis. I set out to answer questions like: 

- What functions within backoffice do you use most often? 
- Learning more about their daily operations and schedules.
- Gather general feedback on our backoffice software and ease of use.
- What's most important in backoffice to have quick access to? 
- As we're growing the business in the next quarter, what might become highly important? 

User Research: What does the data tell us?

Through GA4, I was able to pinpoint which pages and actions on our fleet control desktop software were used the most often, and created a rough list of page priorities. I wanted to get a clear picture of both the qualitative and quantitative uses of our current software, and that would inform what would go into our MVP build for the mobile app.

Industry Research - What can we improve upon or replicate in our offering?

Many of our hosts had businesses on other platforms like Turo, AirBnb, and RVeazy. I set out to gain a better understanding of those apps' offerings to see what Cabana could improve on and replicate in our own app. No need to reinvent the wheel, especially at a crucial part in our growing stage as a company where speed mattered most.

Many of our hosts had businesses on other platforms like Turo, AirBnb, and RVeazy. I set out to gain a better understanding of those apps' offerings to see what Cabana could improve on and replicate in our own app. No need to reinvent the wheel, especially at a crucial part in our growing stage as a company where speed mattered most.

Design Process - Wireframes for Feedback & Validation

Now that I knew what parts of our desktop software were most important and most frequently used, I knew that’s what we would build our MVP with. I began wire-framing out our MVP to get a quick run by our ops and eng team.

Once the team had given feedback on what might work well, I proceeded to take my early sketches into high fidelity.

High Fidelity

Now that I had solid confirmation that the features in the MVP build were prioritized appropriately, it was time to draw up the high fidelity versions.

Design Decisions

Maintaining our Design System

Once leadership had given feedback on my designs, it was time to begin developing. As I make my high-fidelity designs, I make it a point to continually use existing components and update our design system wherever possible. Given that this was a new mobile application for us at Cabana, this project had a significant number of new components to add.

As the lead designer at Cabana, it was my responsibility to update and maintain our design systems within Figma for our four software applications.

Launch & Feedback

After successfully launching our MVP, I setup weekly recurring calls with our Cabana host to see how they were using the host app, and any problems or ideas they had for improvement. Early feedback was that the MVP gave them the most important functions for their day-to-day, and they were eagerly awaiting the next version with more features!

Early feedback was that the MVP gave them the most important functions for their day-to-day, and they were eagerly awaiting the next version with more features!

Impact

To date, the partner app helped Cabana 2X our number of markets across the country, and gave our partners the tools they needed to operate their fleet on the go, whenever they wanted. After a successful MVP build, I continued to meet with our hosts to gather feedback and insights into what will be most important for our 1.2 build.