April to July 2022
UX Research, UX/UI Designer
Figma, Invision, Notability and POP
During the exploration phase of the project, real estate stood out to me as a space that had several customer pain points and the existing solutions did not solve them efficiently. My goal was to create a solution that would guide the user through the stressful, overwhelming, and important decision to buy a home.
For the design solution process, I chose to use Human-Centered Design. Human-Centered Design keeps the user truly in the center of things. It revolves around the perspective of the user, their problems, needs, and desires. As designers, we find an effective solution that meets their needs.
In today's competitive housing market, millennial first-time home buyers are struggling to purchase a house. There are not many houses on the market, and the ones that are there, are being purchased very quickly. How do first-time millennial buyers, use this short time, to make a decision on purchasing a house?
Millennials (25-40 years of age) are the biggest homebuying demographic in the U.S. right now, but the competition for housing is making it increasingly difficult for prospective homeowners to purchase a house. Studies indicate that millennials are more likely than other generations to purchase a house that requires extensive repairs and care. The study also indicates that millennial home seekers are obstructed in the housing market by high competition, expensive prices, low inventory of affordable housing, and competition with more financially stable and home-seeking-savvy generations. Even though the homes are appreciating at a much faster rate than they were before the pandemic, making a home more valuable usually entails a lot of work.
In order to understand the issues and pain points my users were facing, I conducted 3 user interviews over video calls to obtain qualitative feedback regarding the problem statement. Based on my secondary research, I had expected to interview people and hear from them about the impulsive decisions they made under stress or while competing for a bid, however, all of my interviewees took calculated risks, however, they all agreed on having to compromise on different levels when purchasing their first homes
Themes identified based on User interviews
Based on user interviews and affinity mapping, I identified that there was no existing product in the market to help first-time home buyers. The interviewers indicated a need for a solution, that helps them make an informed decision without being bogged down by excessive documentation and complicated terminologies associated with real estate.
After choosing a key theme, to better understand the needs of the users, I chose to create a Persona. Personas are fictional representations and generalizations of a cluster of your target users who exhibit similar attitudes, goals, and behaviors in relation to your product
Using Tessa's pain points and needs, I created a experience map to better understand her journey as a millenial first-time home buyer.
User stories are written from the perspective of users, indicating the different features of a product. Several user stories combined together are called epics.
Based on Tessa's needs and the "How Might We" question, I created 4 Epics and generated 37 user stories to develop the functionalities of the product.
User Stories for Core Epic : Researching the house
Task Flows is a diagram that represents the steps a user takes to complete a specific task. Task flows are generally linear steps.
In our primary task flow, the user has already seen a few houses and is trying to obtain all the information they need.
The Primary task flow depicted below shows the steps the user takes to research a house before placing an offer on it. The user is given a concise summary of all the issues the house may have, including
The task flow aims to instill confidence in the buyer and provide them with the information they require, to make an informed purchase decision
After the task flow was created, I was able to start sketching the different solutions for the users like Tessa. The inspiration for the app came from apps like Redfin, Realtor, and concepts designed in dribbble. I used the notability app to sketch the various screen in the app
Final Sketches for the app
User testing is a powerful tool, which helps designers to obtain feedback from testers. In addition, testing helps designers understand if the design solves the problem.
Based on the solution sketches, I created the first version of medium-fidelity grayscale wireframes using Figma. This was followed by conducting 2 rounds of Usability testing over zoom video calls with 8 participants.
The testers were provided with the 5 scenarios and were directed to perform different tasks. Their feedback was gathered in the Usability Testing Plan & Session output document.
Based on the user feedback, I created totally 3 versions of the wireframes and performed a second round of user testing.
Different versions of House Summary Screen based on the User Testing Feedback
Different Versions of the Inspection Screen based on User Testing Feedback
Final Grayscale version of the wireframes that is translated into High Fidelity Version
After finalizing the wireframes for the app, I started to explore the visual identity of the brand. The visual identity of the brand is represented by choosing brand adjectives, mood board, color palette, and Typography for the app.
Choosing a brand adjective is an essential part of this process that emulated the emotions you want the user to experience while interacting with your app.
More informative than overwhelming
More empowering than constricting
More concise than ambiguous
More calm than clutter
More introspective than indifferent
More trustworthy/reliable than flaky
While exploring the application name and icon, I wanted to create names that worked with the brand adjectives and were easy to remember. It was important that the app name emulated confidence in the user. After several iterations, I choose to go with the name "Home Analyst" based on educator feedback. I opted to work with the font "Source Serif Pro" for the wordmark, as the font's clean and bold serifs fit well with the app.
For the icon, I really liked the structured lines along the roof of the house and explored different versions to emulate the lines of the roof.
Home Analyst analyzes and provides a complete breakdown of the extra costs a new home buyer would have to pay in order to purchase the house. There will be no more hidden surprises with Home Analyst
"Home Analyst" parses through 100s of pages of inspection and disclosure documents and provides a concise summary report indicating the different issues with the house
The marketing website informs the user of the current issues in the market regarding home purchases and highlights the features that distinguish Home Analyst from other apps in the market.
To create a compelling marketing site, I curated a UI inspiration board, and an updated mood board and created new sketches for both desktop and mobile versions. Based on the sketches, I created two different variations of the medium grayscales wireframes. After receiving peer feedback, I choose to create a High fidelity version of the wireframes in desktop and mobile versions.
Home Analyst is a content-rich app, in order to explore cross-platform scenarios the logical cross-platform choice would be either a desktop or tablet. I wanted to understand how the user interaction would differ if the users were to interact with the product using a desktop or tablet and how the experience would vary compared to the iOS mobile version. I created a UI inspiration board to better understand the different design aspects I would need to consider. I sketched a few ideas before creating a Medium grayscale wireframe and then later converting it into a High fidelity version.
A series of user tests will help us identify the effectiveness of the product and identify the problems users are having with the product.
Adding additional flows like "Searching for the house", and "Adding confidence meter" will help increase the breadth of the product. It will also showcase the different functionalities of the product.
Creating Home Analyst across different platforms like Desktop and Tablet will increase the usability of the product
Industry Day Project - Canada GooseUser Experience