A UAE focused property searching app, as user wants it to be!
Edarabia states that 89% of the UAE’s population consists of expatriates as of 2020.
The laws for holding land and owning a property by expatriates involve a long financial commitment which is reflecting in the rising demand for rental properties (and booming construction industry). Rising constructions and property ads are a clear indication of increasing demand.
As an ex-pat myself, I always came across certain challenges, whether online or offline, while searching for a place to call home. Hence, I dug into the understanding of users and requirements through this case study.
How might we enhance the Online Property Searching experience for UAE based workign individuals as per their expectations?
Enter the booming market of Property Dealing with enhancing product features and grow the customer base by providing a delightful experience.
The long-term goal is expanding the customer base with inclusive methods and increasing profitability by optimizing costs.
UX Without User Research Is Not UX — Nielsen Norman Group
I began with a research plan with the goal of understanding the real requirements of a property hunter (residential, for this project).
But before that, I needed to develop a bit more understanding of the current tools and channels along with the competition in the market.
A comprehensive competitive analysis gave the following results:
To understand the target audience better, I analyzed a few in my circle who were in the process of moving homes.
On the basis of patterns observed from their personalities, below user persona emerged:
With the insights gained from this research, our target audiences’ attitudes and behaviors were identified. Here is the finalized Empathy Map:
The participants for interviews were chosen considering the dynamics of the market, defined persona, and demographics. (5 UAE residents, Age 25–40, Male, Indian, Egyptian, Romanian)
The interview guide was carefully drafted for the same.
Insights were quite interesting:
Listings don’t give an idea on the community (dominant nationality and related services) and accessibility (distance from the main hub, metro, etc).
There are no real-time reviews which can give a clear picture.
Uploaded pictures don’t give clarity on day and night conditions along with the outside views. You have to visit to find that and also the noise from road or nearby properties.
Very few properties have Virtual tour.
A mobile app is convenient compared to websites.
Based on the entire analysis of data, it was clear that the missing aspects, which can enhance the house hunt experience for any busy individual, was the key to have a unique product proposition for Wasit to enter into the market.
The ecosystem was developed to dig into the ways to find how Wasit can leverage based on key components.
The requirement and USP were clear at this stage.
Now was the time to translate those into the features and propose a timeline with the help of the Development and Costing team.
Information Architecture was developed with few iterations in such a way where users would perform their tasks with the least amount of effort possible that would eventually create the easiest and most pleasant experience for them.
Mid fidelity prototype was made after rounds of paper sketches (Low-Fidelity Prototype). The working prototype acted like an actual application and users were able to relate to it as an actual product. The wireframes and working prototype was created using Figma.
It was time to start working on the visual side of the application.
Leasing or buying any kind of property involves factors as Money, Security, Trust, Personality, and Priorities. Keeping all these words on a board beside the associated colors helped to come up with a color pallet for the brand.
With the color scheme ready, the next step was to incorporate those shades to create a unified brand style guide showing all the major visual components to be used in the application.
Below is the designed UI kit for Wasit.
After creating the UI style guide, I started creating high-fidelity screen mockups on Figma. The overall user interface design was kept minimal to ensure users don’t get overwhelmed or distracted while using the application.
The same space will be used for sharing promotions and onboarding partners in the next milestone.
Please view the interactive prototype (MVP) here
Work in progress
- I covered only the online experience of the one target user segment through the journey of applying filters and getting desired results. The research participants were Dubai residents.
- The inclusion of other emirates (and personas) for better understanding will be part of the way forward.
- The next step also includes exploring other user journeys such as Profile Creation, Contacting, Onboarding Partners, etc. Business agendas and other stakeholders of this ecosystem will be major components of the way forward.
- Usability Testing will be performed once more personas/segments are included along with all user journies.
In Project Journey:
- Working on the Wasit application was really interesting as well as informative. The research conducted to absorb the domain knowledge proved to be really valuable.
- Research is the key to build any strategy which leads to a relatable User Experience whether online or offline. And Emotional Intelligence is the key to get high-quality insights from any qualitative data.
In Personal Journey:
- Brain rewiring is a task! Experienced it while putting in efforts to become a UX professional (again, after a few years)from Marketing and Communication Executive.
- Self-learning is not as difficult as it used to be. Thanks to the information and inspirations available online!
Thank you for reading 🙂
Feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn or Email for any feedback and suggestions.