Aiding first time home buyers

We designed an app with three unique user experiences for a home ownership platform.

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December 2022
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As soon as we heard what Alberto and Trevor were trying to build, we were all in. This app experience design required us to understand and shape complex systems and processes into easy user journeys for many types of people. Starting with research, we were able to concept and fully design the experience in order to help the team move onto their next company milestone.

For Profit
Design System
User Experience

The Problem

In 2021, KTO founders Alberto & Trevor, reached out to us with a mission to design an app that combined everything you would need during the home buying process and implement AI to help guide you through your journey, seamlessly.  They had lofty ideas but not a lot of direction on how to execute something as complex as this. At the time, they had a simple marketing page, a logo, and a very basic experience.

During our discovery, we noticed that the onboarding experience, although integral to collect the information needed for the AI, was cumbersome and glitchy.  It felt like the daunting forms of the banks and government agencies KTO was trying to circumvent.

The Background

Alberto and Trevor believe everyone should have access to down payment, credit, and home buying resources to achieve their personal finance goals and homeownership.

They understand that being a first-time home buyer can feel daunting and shrouded in paperwork, requirements, and roadblocks at every turn. Rising home prices and rising cost of renting is making is harder for young people to enter the property ladder. Only one-third of the American population under the age 34 is a homeowner and when looking at homeownership by race and ethnicity there is a large discrepancy. 64% of white, non-hispanic people own homes while only 43% of black and 46% of hispanic people own home in the US. KTO decided the best way to tackle this problem is to even the playing field when it came to access.

KTO's four main user profiles

The Product Questions

  • What are the areas in the home buying process that are the biggest road blocks
  • Who are the users
  • What do they need
  • What types of grants, loans etc. would they be qualified for
  • How experienced are they in the home buying process
  • What is the typical journey a user would take during this process
  • What kind of information do we need to collect from the user for the AI & how that information will be used
User Journeys for 2 users
User Edward's journey mapping

The Solution

First up was mapping out the complexity of the project. We created a robust Information Architecture that laid out the many aspects to the application.  Here we also realized we needed to break up the experience into 3 versions of the app for 3 distinct user types:

  • The consumer app
  • The partner’s experience
  • The Admin dashboard

Keeping it Human

The onboarding experience, the dashboard, and matches were areas of the consumer app that needed the most human touch.

For the onboarding experience we needed to instill trust and ease into the process. Questions like income level & debt can feel robotic and an intrusive to a user, especially as the first impression of the app.  Instead, we opted for language that felt conversational and focused in on the users goals.

i.e. “Where are you buying a home? Are you open to nearby zipcodes?”

The dashboard needed to be engaging, set expectations, and guide the user through the process. Inserting a personalized timeline into the dashboard allows users to understand the steps ahead and takes the guess work & uncertainty out of the equation.

KTO Dashboard

Finally for the matches page we opted to introduce interaction into the feature with status updates that let the user know if something was viewed, update application status, and even provide a feedback loop from the partner when their application is in review or approved. This transparency is something lacking in the grant and loan process, often leaving homebuyers in the dark for months. Finally adding a side bar that dynamically updates with relevant content depending on the page.

KTO mobile screens & UI elements

3 distinct end users

One of the most complex aspects of the project was understanding how the consumer experience and the partner experience spoke to each other.  The partner experience was designed for the representatives of the agencies and companies that offer the grants, mortgages, & services. The Admin experience needed to be the gate keeper for all the partners while also having insights into to the end consumer.

We'd love to partner with you and your team.

Even if you're still figuring things out, feel free to reach out. We can even help you create your project briefs and RFPs.