norban, selling homes with a service people can actually love and trust 🏠

Mobile application and back-office system for the Swedish real-estate start-up norban → Read more at ābove's website

Mentor: Ana Barbosa, Senior User Experience Designer; Context: Internship at ābove agency, 2018 — 2019

About norban

Norban launched as a hybrid real-estate agency on July 1st 2019 running full-steam ahead and is now selling homes in all major Swedish cities. The start-up has gathered attention from several major outlets in Sweden.

My role

I mainly supported the Senior User Experience Designer while working on this project.I was also in charge of the UX of the back office system, while working hand in hand with the development team. In this process, my experience in coding helped me a lot when it comes to communication with development team.

How might we design a trusting, stress-free and overall better experience for everyone involved in the home selling process?

Challenge: Facing a criticized industry

There is a lot of mistrust in the real estate industry, and the sales process is still a broker-centric, stressful, and commission-driven model. We wondered how to design an experience which is less reliant on the realtor, and leverage technology to optimize the overall home selling experience for everyone involved.

Outcome: Aiming for radical transparency and collaboration

We developed a solution that guides the seller step by step through the home selling process and allows them to follow every action in the process of the real estate agent in real-time.

Wizard
Simply set up a home profile 🏠 🚶

In simple steps, a wizard guides the seller through the process of creating a home profile, allowing the home to be visible to potential buyers within minutes.

Introduction and division into logical phases

The process is divided into phases that represent important milestones. Entering each phase, the app enables the user to read the upcoming tasks.

Selling Guide
Guidance and transparency throughout the entire process

While being guided through the sales process step by step, the seller is given transparency by receiving real-time information on the most recent happenings.

Back office Infrastructure 💻
Assisting transactions and communicating with buyers and sellers at every step

The back-office system enables the realtors to upload images or documents, send notifications, unlock the next step, or upload other information that is then visible to the seller in the app.

The Process of designing for norban


Exploring opportunities: How might we ...

• create and end-to-end experience that engages sellers and earns their trust.
• make selling homes flexible.
• create a collaborative experience for both the seller and the realtor.

User journeys 🕵️

To discover and understand pain points in the current home selling process, we interviewed industry experts and target users and created user journeys together with them. By the time I started working on the project, I was participating solely in the research regarding industry experts.

Aligning user insights with business goals 💼

After the research, we aligned their needs with norbans' business goals. We aimed to develop a common understanding and achieve consensus. Based on the results, we structured the sales process and created navigation architectures, wireframes and lo-fi prototypes.

Guiding principles

We had some guiding principles that we developed through our user insights and business goals.

Instructive
We wanted to guide sellers through the entire home selling process to make sure they understand every (upcoming) step. In doing so, we want to prevent the user from being overwhelmed by the process.

Flexible
Selling a home is not a time-bound process. Realtors pointed out that flexibility is one of the most key drivers. To make sure we considered flexibility in the design, we delved deeper into the process of selling a home and its user scenarios.

Transparent
With the real estate industry under heavy criticism, we learned that potential sellers need to be assured that norban is a trustworthy and reliable service. We wanted to do this by making it easy to contact the designated realtor and keep the seller informed of every past, present, and upcoming step of the process.

Collaborative
The sales process should be a collaborative interplay. The seller plans their steps themselves at their own pace and fills out the required forms in the app. Meanwhile, norban should keep track of upcoming deadlines and tasks.

Turning broad concepts to UX solutions

We generated a broad range of ideas and turned the sketches into design mocks and flows. In several rounds, we tested our prototypes. After validating our concepts and assumptions, our Visual Designers applied the visual branding elements.

Shaping our design decisions based on our HMW explorations

Create an end-to-end experience that engages sellers and earns their trust
• by designing a short onboarding wizard to create a home profile.
• by creating design considerations for each step of the process.
• by clear communication through microcopy.
• by taking edge cases and error conditions into consideration.
• by making customer support easy to access.
• by notifying the seller about every event triggered by realtors actions in real-time.
• by informing the user about upcoming steps.
• by providing an introduction reading in every step.
• by providing a history of happenings.

Make selling homes flexible
• by allowing users to continue within their own pace.
• by enabling to go back in the process.

Create a collaborative experience for both the seller and the realtor
• by enabling sellers to plan steps themselves, such as requesting a booking and filling out required forms in the app.
• by enabling norban to keep track of upcoming appointments, deadlines, and tasks in the back-office.
• by keeping both parties informed about happenings on the other side.

Reflection

What I have learned

• Presenting and communicating research findings and designs to the client.
• Working in multidisciplinary teams in an international setting.
• Gaining (creative) confidence and trust in my own skills.
• Communication with the development team.

Other work ↓