The owner of Houses in San Antonio has been in the real estate industry for close to 25 years. Over the past five to ten years, she has noticed a change in both the amount and the type of information being requested by home buyers—from wanting answers to big questions like who the current owners use for small jobs or repairs to the smaller questions like what size filters are used in the central air units.
How can home sellers keep all of the important information about their homes easily accessible without being burdened by saving or maintaining numerous files of manuals, receipts, and vendor contacts?
My goal is to create a holistic system that provides homeowners with an intuitive way to maintain home documentation for their own knowledge while also being something that is easily transferrable to a new owner upon the sale of the property. The system will enable homeowners to contact their preferred vendors for estimates, schedule appointments, and leave reviews of the services provided. To accomplish this, I gained an understanding of user behaviors, explored user pain points, and established user journeys while solving additional challenges that pop up throughout the process.
I interviewed several real estate professionals and homeowners to discover what they have experienced in terms of home ownership, home buying, and/or home selling.
I asked the realtors about their experience with homeowners who maintained accurate files, those who did not, and what type of information homebuyers were expecting when they purchased a home. I discovered that, from a realtor's perspective, accurate home records were a hit or a miss. They mentioned homeowners would sometimes keep records for two or three years, but would then dispose of the information when they felt it was no longer needed.
From the homeowners interviewed, I discovered that while many of them did a good job of keeping information about their homes, they felt maintaining files was cumbersome. They also mentioned that they exprienced frustration when they knew they had saved documentation, but were unable to find the information when they needed it.
Marketing Web Site
To ensure we hit the mark, I created a functional, visual user experience. It was imperative that the solution provided an easy-to-use entrypoint to engage with homeowners, get them to see the value in the app, and encourage them to sign-up.
Development progressed with initial sketches, user flow explorations, quick prototypes, and testing. An iOS version of the app has been started and will be unveiled as part of version 2.0.
I quickly moved to high-fidelity mockups to validate some user issues discovered during testing. The mockups were created in Adobe XD to conduct interactive prototype exploration.
While exploring the web application, I have kept in mind that we will quickly move to the development of a mobile app once the web app is launched. As part of some of the initial talks regarding the mobile version, I mocked up an interactive prototype to help the conversation.
Results and Challenges
From the logo to the brand voice, the marketing website to the web app and the mobile app, I have created, nurtured, and evolved the brand communication system in its various forms. Throughout the creative process, I have worked to design and develop a clean and simple visual vocabulary that—while being very robust—maintains a fresh, intuitive human-centered experience.
With so many different elements that need to be accounted for, recorded, and maintained in a typical home, I'm challenged to create different users flows and combinations that would need the help of a development team. As I continue on the project, I am learning agile methods to help the process move smoothly through the user research, wireframing, and rigorous iteration stages with the focus always being on the user end goal—an easy-to-use documentation, communication, and reminder system for homeowners.
www: HouseBones.com (in development)