Storage for Everyone


Storage for Everyone


Currently, 9% of American households rent a self-storage unit. Self-storage spaces sound like a great idea to reduce the clutter in your house and yet, as convenient a solution as it may sound, self-storage has also some obvious (and some not so obvious) disadvantages, and even a few hidden dangers.    

Why do Americans use Self-Storage?


Major concerns with using Self-Storage 

Group 2

So, what is Win-Kel? How does it help?

                 Win-Kel (Dutch)




                               corner in which merchandise is stalled




Win-Kel (Dutch)



noun       corner in which merchandise is                 stalled




Win-Kel is a smartphone application aimed at providing cheap, flexible and secure storage space by connecting people in need of storage with people who have extra space.

Win-Kel is a start-up based out of Bloomington, Indiana. Their aim is to provide cheap, flexible and secure storage space by connecting people in need of storage with people who have extra space.

Why Win-Kel

My Work in a Nutshell

Skills Process

Quick and Dirty Research


The application that was then being used by few people in Bloomington had around 200 users who had downloaded it. Since Win-Kel was still at it's nascent stages it was not feasible to recruit these users and conduct formative research by interviewing them. There was a database of user feedback that the company maintained but there was only about 20 feedbacks in it at that time.

There still was not sufficient enough data to answer the few basic questions 

Who are our users?
What are the most common reasons people use our product?
How do different groups of people use our service?
What are they currently lacking?

As Jakob Nielsen said, though, “Leaving the user out is not an option.

So after cleaning the database of our existing users; by removing test accounts, accounts of employees and duplicate accounts, I sent out a short 5-question survey to understand how are people finding out about the app, what do they like about it and what more do they need. As I expected, I received only 10 responses out of the 150 surveys that I sent out but I had to try! :P

With all the information I had at my disposal I decided to create personas that could help me and the rest of the team better understand why our users would want to use Win-Kel.

The two main types of users are the Host and the Renter and below are the personas I created for each user type. 



The Stay-At-Home Host

Uses Winkel to do something useful with their free time. Being productive and making new acquaintances is more important to them than the money they earn. 

The Millenial Host

Uses Winkel to earn some extra money without having to further tighten their existing schedule. The money and the flexibilty matters more to them.  

The Millenial Host

Uses Winkel to earn some extra money without having to further tighten their existing schedule. The money and the flexibilty matters more to them.  



The College Renter

Needs cheap, flexible and secure storage space


After forming a basic understanding of who my users are, I decided to conduct a Cognitive Walkthrough of the existing application to identify existing usability issues. The two main tasks were... 


The Design Process

The Design Process

The process I followed during this internship was not the process that I was used to, since there was already an existing bare-bones structure of the application and the stakeholders were expecting just an aesthetic redesign. I had to onboard them onto my design process and explain why making artifacts like personas, visual artifacts that don't directly go into the final product, are necessary to spend time on.

I decided to start with making a screen flow to visualize the "Happy Path" in the user's journey, to understand which flows are natural and intuitive and which ones need stepping stones for the user to complete the task 

Features for the Host
  • Adding multiple storage spaces (listings)
  • Managing their listings and requests with the dashboard
  • Managing their payments and legal document within the application

  Features for the Renter
  • View multiple listing options after entering storage space requirements
  • See detailed details of listings
  • Make payments through the app and have all legal documents in the same place 


There was still very little user representation and a lot of assumptions at this point so I decided to get different perspectives by asking my friends and neighbors to provide some quick feedback on overall product comprehension and basic task completion. Although they weren't ideal users, their feedback helped validate some of the problems that surfaced up in the cognitive walkthrough analysis. This made me feel more confident in starting the redesign process.


Being new to visual design, I found it very useful to follow these basic guidelines of good visual design while starting the redesign process.   


The first thing that was needed was creating a balance: arranging the positive elements and negative spaces so that neither overpowers the other and competes for attention.


Rhythm is important for making the interface predictable so that it aids in comprehension and reducing cognitive overload. This can be achieved by repeating patterns of similar groups at regular intervals, just like in music. Harmony is the visual echo that is created by elements that are following a rhythm.


In a busy UI with different call-to-actions, dominance suggests the flow, it creates an entry point for the user then the secondary and tertiary dominance suggests the next path for the user.

Alignment (1)

Our mind percieves elements that are in close proximity with each other as a single group, therefore to maintain an element's individuality there has to be sufficient distance between elements and if two or more elements belong to one group they have to be closer to each other.


Creating a sense of trust was of utmost important for us and the color blue often conveys it the best, we chose a blue-ish shade of teal as it both signifies trust and open communication. Since our user population mainly consisted of young millennials, we did not want to application to look too officious and so orange, the color that coveys enthusiasm and youthfulness was also chosen to contrast the teal. 



One major feature lacking in the application was that of schedule overviews and managing these schedules and payments. It proved difficult to design these screens without knowing what hosts and renters actually need and what pain points do they have while they schedule their rentals in a real-life scenario. The developers also felt that the designs I came up for the dashboard was not easy to implement technically. These are some of the screens that were designed for Dashboard alternatives, payment and schedule management. 

Other (1)

I also had the responsibility of creating the visual assets, like icons, which I had never done before. Although it was challenging, it was also fun to learn how to do that! Below are some sample icons that I made.




  1. It is possible to be the only designer in the team when working for startups. In such situations, defending the design process is of utmost important for the product's success - there's only so much that secondary research and assumptions can get right and you are definitely not your user

  2. If in any case the users are absolutely inaccessible try finding users of similar applications, for example, in this case, talking to AirBnB hosts would have given sufficient insights on the challenge of designing to manage schedules

  3. In a startup-like environment where you are constantly interacting with everybody, from the developer to CEO, it is important to learn to talk in each of their language so that they see value in your design decisions and not just focus on quick and easy implementations

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