Banner photo of Trellis. Rent things from people in your community. Depicts 3 desktop screens.

A Peer-to-Peer Rental Platform

Trellis came from our team's mutual love for the library and the idea of sharing. A library's impact on any given community is significant in terms of accessibility, cost, flexibility, and more. We wanted to take it further and offer a solution that allows communities to take advantage of its available resources through rentals.


In a world where instant gratification and purchasing power rules, what does the optimal renting experience look like if you could rent anything?


We designed a go-to rental platform. A place with a collection of various items that you can discover and borrow from the community. Trellis aims to streamline a renter's renting experience.


Team of 3 over the course of 2 1/2 weeks.

  • UX Researcher
  • UX Designer
  • Front-End Developer
  • Project Manager
  • User Interviews
  • Survey
  • User Flow
  • Wireframing
  • Lo-fi Prototype
  • Coded Website
  • Whiteboard
  • Illustrator
  • Adobe XD
  • Trello
  • G Suite

To better understand the market, we conducted research: five user interviews, one interview with a business, and surveyed our network. We then pulled data points from our interview transcripts to create an affinity map. The biggest take-aways are in the diagram below.

User Interview Insights. 1) Most users don't want to buy items they won't use often. 2) The majority of users want to rent an item over buying it to save money and space. 3) Transactional transparency and expectations for all our users when renting. 4) Renting can be more cost-effective, is more eco-friendly, and provides flexibility. 5) Lending provides lenders with passive income, that interest all our users.
User Insights from User Interviews and Survey Data

We were also able to pull quotes that highlight the importance of renting: convenience and flexibility.

Quotes from a renter and business

We also conducted market research. We learned that although there are direct competitors, they are not in the US market. Businesses that offer rental services in the US, however, are more specialized. Using the information gathered, we mapped out our opportunities.

Competitive Analysis covering the strenghts, weaknessess, and opportunities in a peer to peer plateform. Ultimately we saw opportunities in safety with delivery, having upfront cost and rental details (transparency), having an easier rental flow, and making it easier to search for items when there's a large range of products.
Competitor Analysis

To bring this idea to life, we created a user persona for our renter, one that aligns with our interviews and insights. Meet Jane Stevens.

User Persona showcasing Jane Stevens. She's a tax account that is saving for a home and paying off college debt. She values her limited space and hates clutter. One of her biggest painpoints is spending money on items she'll only use once or twice. She's resourceful, artsy, and an optimist.
Renter Persona

Jane has recently purchased some artwork to hang in her apartment. As luck would have it, she doesn't have the tools to hang her art, nor do her friends. Below we face Jane's predicament with a Renter's task.

User Flow is showcased. Task: You bought some artwork that you want to hang, but you don't have power tools. Rent a drill.
Renter Task Flow: Rent a drill to hang some artwork.

We recognized the importance of structure in our web app, particularly when it comes down to categories. A site that has the potential to house anything needs order, so we did a card sort to nail it down. We tested groupings, and we tried out categories. Two items gave the most headaches because of the different interpretations people had: a ladder and a stroller. In the end, we came up with Household, Outdoors, Tools, Luxury, Electronics, and Baby & Pets.

Card sorting our items into discernable categories. Our final categories were: Household, Outdoors, Tools, Luxury, Electronics, and Baby & Pets.
Card Sorting Items into Categories

Sketches and Wireframes

Sketching was a very smooth process with most of the discussion revolving around the search bar placement and how our users will filter items.

Initial sketches of Trellis: Homepage, Search Results, and Product Detail Page.
Initial Sketches
Lo-Fi screens created from initial sketches.

Style Guide

Our team thought it was important to create a simple, clean design. Even more so because Trellis will be full of photos of all kinds of rental items. We chose green to touch on the environmental friendly aspect of Trellis.

Trellis' Style Guide. We kept the overall design clean and simple using a white as a base color and having pops of green for cohesion in branding.
Trellis Style Guide

Testing & Improvements

After creating our wireframes we tested our user flow. Users had no issues completing the task. However, there were some concerns raised that we addressed below.

Iteration 1: Users had no issues navigating the flow. Instead we caught items that would make the flow more realistic like the cost of the renting the drill per day, giving the user feedback from a button interaction, rethinking delivery options, adding a rough distance for delivery, and providing a chat system to communicate with the owner of the item.
Testing and Iteration on the User Flow

We were curious about whether people would impulse rent items. And debated the importance of transparency and maximizing above-the-fold content.

A/B Testing testing the validity of condensing info to be above the fold versus having to scroll for information. Ultmately we found users naturally scrolled for more information and we wanted to honor the insight that users value more transparency.
A/B Testing

We continued testing and refining the flow. Below you can see the results based on the feedback on delivery.

Iteration 2: Delivery Option. We quickly learned that having the delivery option of the rental item on it's product page was unrealistic. This is the nature of rapid prototyping. Our solution was to create an additional screen 'Messages' to create a channel to gain clarity in arranging delivery, ask the lender questions, inform the user of the rental period, extend rental period, and manage payments.
User testing on Delivery Options
Responsive view of Trellis: Homepage, Product Search Results, and Product Page View Coded Prototype

Final Thoughts

  • This project was a success. We identified a gap in the U.S. market that hasn’t been tapped yet. Trellis supports a circular economy of reusing resources. From a business perspective, there's little to maintain outside of logistics. Overall, a great return in business value that has buy-in from both rentees and renters.
  • This was a great team to work with. We had some healthy internal debates about aspects of our design and made good use of whiteboards, windows, and sticky notes to work through our design challenges.
  • We found ourselves with many parking lot items. The next logical step is to look into improving the categorization of products, especially clothing and luxury items.
  • Given more time, I would build out the last responsive page in the flow.