Pipeline | Plumbers’ Network

Design Brief: The goal of this project is to design a social mobile app that allows plumbers to rapidly build teams in response to unfolding projects. Two personas given by instructor are Katia, a small plumbing business owner, and Tony, a freelance junior plumber.

Work presented by Xiaowei Jiang, Lorraine Shim, Jane Lien in 4 weeks | 2014
My contribution | mobile interface design, scenario drawing, business model visualization, design discussion
Project completed in the course “Interaction Design Studio” under the instruction of John Zimmerman


Pipeline | Personas


“It is so time consuming for me to individually call plumbers and find out their availability.”
-Katia | Plumbing business owner
“I want to fill my week with more gigs, but sometimes, I just don’t know how to get them.”
-Tony | Freelance junior plumber


Experience Goal: Less administrative work
End Goal: Rapidly scale business on project-by-project basis
Experience Goal: Maximize working hours
End Goal: Earn more money and start own business



Pipeline | Scenario

As a social app connecting two different personas, creating scenarios that explain why they meet each other is the first step. The potential scenario of this design is: Katia signs up a gig with a local contractor; she is short of plumbers at the time; she opens Pipeline and searches for available plumbers for the gig; She likes Tony’s profile; She calls Tony and discusses details with him.



Pipeline | Business Model

Pipeline generates revenue through purchases of search credits. The pricing system we are proposing encourages users to purchase more credits as time goes on. For the first $5, users receive 20 searches. For their next package, users would get 30 searches for $5. And for the third tier of packages, users would get 40 searches for $5 for the rest of the fiscal year.




Pipeline | Wireframe

In the final design, there are two landing pages designed for both personas. This choice is made based on the failure of a previous wireframe and interface. In the previous design, the two personas share the same landing page. Since their goal is essentially different, this design adds one more step for both of them, and causes confusions for first-time users.


Pipeline | Our Solution

When plumbers get a project bigger than they can handle, Pipeline enables them to reach out to colleagues and collaborators to put a team together based on skills and availability. The app is for both Katia (plumbing business owner) and Tony (junior plumber).



Katia has just finished signing a 2-week-long project with a local contractor. She opens up the Pipeline mobile app and does a quick search of available junior plumbers.

The app generates a list of workers. Tony’s name appears on the very top as Katia has called him multiple times through the app for previous projects and he is available. Katia pushes the call icon and calls Tony immediately.

Tony picks up and confirms his availability. They discuss additional administrative details and hang up.





Katia goes back to the app and pushes the “add to calendar” option next to Tony’s name to block his schedule.

By adding Tony to her calendar, she is essentially reserving his time, so he will be no longer be searchable for those dates.






A few minutes after Katia and Tony hang up, Tony gets a notification from the Pipeline app indicating that Katia has scheduled him from November 3 – November 9 and asks him to confirm.

He is taken to the calendar page with a notification for confirmation on top. He sees that Katia’s gig causes a conflict with a previously booked small gig on November 5 with Bob, but he figures out that he can make both schedules work and confirms Katia’s gig.




The notification box closes and fills in the calendar. Tony continues to allow the scheduled conflict.

In order to remind Tony that he has two gigs on that day, a grey corner still shows on his calendar as a reminder.





To keep users engaged, we have developed a notification system that will encourage them to continue using the app.

For business owners, a notification will appear on their navigation bar when a gig has been completed. It simply asks them to confirm when a gig has been completed, so Pipeline can add it to their history.

For freelance plumbers, a monthly push notification will be sent to them that states the number of gigs they have booked through Pipeline and reminds them to update their calendar.



Pipeline | Website & Dashboard

There is also a website version for our users that prefer to operate from a computer.




The dashboard is constructed based a number of assumptions and trajectories we project for the app, such as: there will be a constant flow of demand and supply of work, as many as plumbers marked as available for work will get hired, businesses will revisit the app frequently, etc.




Pipeline | Kickstarting



In order to gain a user base, we plan to form relationships with local plumber union officials and attend union conferences. We also plan to directly sign up users at these venues by giving away free searches to business owners and goodies to freelance plumbers.

While we are currently focused on plumbers, we believe this app can later be scaled to cover similar trades, such as carpenters, landscapers, and electricians.

Skills Interaction Design