Mike Eng User Experience Designer 401-234-4611
me on github

Buildium: Collecting Management Fees

screenshot of tables showing journey maps

After our contextual inquiry, I put together journey maps showing multiple scenarios under the current supported functionality as well as the envisioned future journeys.

conceptual model

Conceptual models for three approaches to resolving the problem of wanting to be able to pay rental owners sooner

task flow diagrams

More detailed task flow diagrams allowed us to better understand the pieces of functionality we needed to support to achieve the goal of paying rental owners sooner.

owner draw screen showing expanded area

The final design of the screen that enabled property managers to pay rental owners while withholding calculated amounts for management fees and bills showed the amounts as an equation in the headings: “Prior available balance + Net change – Uncollected management fees – Unpaid bills = Amount” for each property.

owner draw screening showing an isolated detail

Because property managers want to double check that the math is right before sending a payment, hovering over one of the headings allows a further drill-down into the line items that resulted in each subtotal. Also see it in the clickable prototype (opens in new window).

My role

UX Lead, working with one other UX designer, one user research coordinator, one product manager, three developers, and two QA team members.


  1. Contextual inquiry
  2. Journey mapping
  3. Task analysis
  4. Conceptual model generation
  5. Wireframing
  6. Moderated, remote usability testing
  7. Detailed screen design

About Buildium

Buildium is a web and mobile application for property management. Over 10,000 customers depend on the software as the backbone of their business.

The problem / opportunity

Property management companies typically make most of their income through management fees, usually about 10% of rent collected each month. The ability to automatically calculate management fees was one of the highest-voted ideas on our customer idea suggestion forum.

Reframing the problem

In order to fully understand the environment and the process for which we were solving, we did contextual inquiry with a few local property management companies and had them walk us through scenarios of collecting management fees. What emerged was that, while calculating and collecting management fees was a chore, the urgency around it came from the fact that collecting management fees stood in the way of paying rental owners the remainder of property income after management fees and bills were paid. If rental owners didn’t get their check when they expected it every month, they would call the property managers asking about where the money was. Property managers wanted to be proactive and avoid these calls.

The solution

We explored and user tested three wireframe variations and finalized an approach that would allow property managers to pay their rental owners first – a wizard would calculate and withhold money due for bills and management fees automatically.

See clickable prototype (opens in new window).