norban: Selling homes with a service people can actually love and trust

User experience design of the mobile application and its back-office system for the Swedish real-estate start-up norban.

Time: 2018 — 2019
Mentor: Ana Barbosa, Senior User Experience Designer
Client: norban
Context: Internship at ābove agency → Read more at ābove's website.

My role: User experience design support, prototyping, designing micro-interactions, User Experience Design for the back-office system.

Impact: Since its launch in July 2019, Norban has expanded rapidly and is currently present in all major cities in Sweden. Norban's fresh approach to the real estate market has also piqued much interest in the Swedish media.

The Challenge

There is a lot of mistrust in the real estate industry these days as it is still a broker-centric, commission-driven model. With a story behind every house sold and emotions involved these experiences must be handled with care.

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

The Solution

We developed an app that guides sellers through the selling process step by step, providing them more control and allowing them to make informed decisions throughout the process. The back-office system enables norban to support transactions and communicate with buyers and sellers at every step of the process.

A wizard enables a simple home ad setup. The seller is guided through the creation process in a matter of a few steps.

The home selling process is divided into phases that represent major milestones. Upon entering a phase, the user is given a brief introduction to the upcoming tasks.

Sellers are guided through the selling process step by step, while being informed about the latest happenings in real-time. The app allows sellers to be fully flexible in their decision on when and how to proceed in the process.

The back-office system enables the realtors to monitor, perform tasks and communicate with sellers. Images or documents can be uploaded, notifications can be sent, as well as next steps and information can be unlocked, which are then visible to the seller in the app.

The process of designing for norban

Vision: A people-centered approach

There are strong emotions involved as individuals buy and sell homes for a variety of reasons. Norban helps sellers and realtors in selling homes together in a transparent and stress-free way. The start-up brings a new approach to the dusty real estate industry while remaining true to its core values.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

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 in the research regarding industry experts.

Guiding principles

We have developed some guiding principles based on user insights:

Turning broad concepts to UX solutions

We developed a wide range of ideas and turned the sketches into design mock-ups and flows. Throughout several rounds, we tested our prototypes. After validating our concepts, our Visual Designers applied the visual branding elements.

Navigation architecture.

Bringing ideas to paper

Long before I create digital wireframes and flows, I do a lot of sketches in order to get initial ideas down on paper and flesh them out. I would say pen and paper are my favorite tools.

Early sketches

Core navigation elements

The bottom-up pages are one of the core elements of the app, which we discussed and tested in several iterations in order to find the optimal and most intuitive solution. In doing so, we put a lot of emphasis on micro transitions.

Design decisions based on our HMW explorations and principles

Create an experience that engages sellers and earns their trust by

Opportunity types
Entry containers and types

What I have learned

• Working in multidisciplinary teams in an international setting has allowed me to see design from a variety of new perspectives.

• Gaining confidence and thus trust in my own abilities.

• I learned a lot about how I communicate, what phrases I use when, and how to explain and convey my work to the client and my coworkers.

• By working together hand in hand with the development team, I learned how to communicate and collaborate with them, for example, when handing over wireframes and prototypes.