Valdis Barrett - UI/UX Designer

Mobile Real Estate Investment Search

Roles : Conceptual Design, Strategy, UI, UX


The Challenege

Real estate is the world's most popular form of investment, with home ownership being a staple goal that many of us hope to one day achieve.

While real estate tends to be historically a stable long-term asset, it doesn't always provide the greatest returns or cash flow, so many investors turn to commercial real estate as it has all the benefits of residential but with the added bonus of higher yields.

Experienced RE investors know all the best places to find the best deals, but for the rest of us, the rather archaic platforms and systems can be both hard to use as well as very unenjoyable. LocationCubed (Location Location Location!) set out to change this and give access to real estate investing to the public.


The Solution

The main pain points that casual real estate investors had were accessing the latest deals and doing so in an easy, user-friendly manner, even for those that weren't super technical or extremely familiar with all the technicalities.

I worked closely with the team at L3 to conceptualise, test, and design a very straightforward app that put the average consumer on the same playing field as industry experts, so that the smartest investor—not the most connected—could win.


Wireframing

Prior to kicking off the project, I took the time to really understand exactly what the problem was that we were trying to solve. This was achieved by researching every possible competitor and solution in the market as well as doing my best to get into the mindset of the target user to better understand where the existing solutions fall short. 

All these thoughts and ideas were documented so that when I got around to creating wireframes, I'd have plenty of content to back me up. 

I mocked up my assumptions and proceeded to test them with the target users. I always do my best to really try and prove my presumptions incorrect so that I can tweak them to match the results. I find this works better than spending time to prove myself right as my biases will often over look vital aspects of the user experience. Continuous testing resulted in wireframes that we could be confident about.


Low Fidelity

Upon completing the wireframes and ensuring every possible nuance is tested, I felt confident in that we were able to move forward with our work and add more detail to the designs. This occurs in the next stage of my design process. 

At this point, I focused on adding the details that helped convey the core functionalities of the app and stayed away from nice-to-haves that wouldn't really help a tester understand, and possibly result in feedback that wasn't super valuable just yet. Important data such as button texts, dummy info, basic icons, and the like really brought the interfaces to life and made the user tests a lot simpler, as I no longer had to do as much hand-holding, allowing the interface to "speak" for itself. 

This is a vital inflection point in the process, as now a user should be able to navigate the flow by themselves without much input from the designer. 

Mistakes and cracks will start to appear after testing, as they did here. An example being that originally the map toggle was just a simple icon and test users struggled to find it. This resulted in using a half-width block in it's place with text and an image background. This solution worked without an issue.


High Fidelity

After no more user experience questions remained, I moved onto the final design stage (but not final stage in the process), where I went ahead and gave the screens some life with color. The use of shadows, colors, and typography really helps the application feel unique and different from the other offerings on the market. 

The use of a serif font helps break up the monotony of sans-serif system fonts and builds upon the brand's idea of offering an application that almost feels a little editorial and curated. Images, finalised icons, and map textures are all included to bring the mockups up to production ready calibre. 

Colors and contrast were tested for vision-impairment accessibility to ensure that almost anyone can enjoy the application's benefits. Another round of user testing is held and final quirks were resolved before documenting and preparing the screens for developer handoff.


Wrapping Up & Final Thoughts

This project ended up being one of my favourite to date as it let me combine multiple passions of mine including design and real estate. It was a real pleasure to take this from concept to production ready designs and resulted in many great encounters with industry pros. Hand-off and completion were smooth, and without a hitch. Very excited to work on my next real estate related project!


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