Buddy is an app that helps users find apartments in Lagos without stress, offering users more accurate and feature rich assets including top notch photography and 3D Viewing experience.
- Case Study
- Mobile App
- Real Estate
- Case Study
- User Research
- User Experience Design
- Visual Design
- Sketch and Figma
- Google Forms
- Due to the population of Lagos searching for apartment of your choice and budget is stressful and almost impossible.
- Viewing houses in images as you don't get to see more details.
- Agents not getting proper description of user needs.
- Extortion form continuous registration fee and inspection fee from agents.
- User's availability to inspect properties with agents.
- Short-let apartments are almost non existent.
- University Students ( Age 17 - 25 )
- People with busy schedules.
- Young Couples
- Family with Children
- House Agents
- Eliminating continuous registration fee and inspection fee as a one-time payment can be done from within the app.
- 3D Tours: Life-like viewing for House hunters on their mobile device. giving him a better experience and a feeling that they are physically present.
- Previewing apartment using VR( adding currents properties eg chairs and television to the house : this is like previewing it to see how your properties fit in ).
- Availability of homes for for short stay eg a night, weekends, or a few days.
By estimate, Lagos now has a population of 23 million. At least, about 86 persons migrate into the state every hour. Searching for a house could be challenging and frustrating, with agents trying to exploit you and most times not meeting expectations. Getting a clean, safe and affordable apartment in a cool location in Lagos, especially on the mainland, is a serious struggle. And in your search for an apartment, you'll probably meet a crazy agent, who'll introduce you to a difficult landlord and his poorly maintained house.
You'll meet the agent who has the contacts of all Lagos landlords, Having a contact network is a good selling point for apartment agents, but Lagos agents always overrate themselves. An agent assure you that you'll get the apartment you want in no time because he knows the number of houses in Yaba and Surulere. Another will say he has the contacts of all the landlords in Lagos just to make you think he knows his onions.
Agent fee first Lagos agent don't joke with money. In fact, after telling them the kind of house you want, the next thing is for you to pay N2000 or N5000, depending on the agent. They call it agent fee. Then you fill a form. This same agent will ask for something they call mobilization fee. This is meant to aid their transportation from one place to another to search for vacant apartments.
Here comes your first disappointment The moment the agent tells you he has gotten your choice apartment, don't jubilate yet, just go and see it first. Most times, this turns out to be a direct opposite of what you want. You want a clean apartment in a cool location, but the first house your agent will show you will most likely be one with water problem in an overcrowded area.
Since you don't like the first one, the search continues. If you really want to get a good house in Lagos, you must be ready to do some legwork with the agent. Some agents are ready to work the length and breadth of the city to get you an apartment. Forget the claim that he knows all landlords and vacant apartments in Lagos. You are in it together, and you have to pay the transportation fair to anywhere he takes you.
The goal of my research was to better understand user needs and frustrations with existing solutions in order to identify opportunities for the business based on existing products and to aid the development of new products. Two methods of research I used are Ethnographic research and Quantitative research methods.
Some user Interview questions
- Tell me a bit about yourself and how long you have been searching for an apartment.
- What do you look out for when searching for an apartment
- Have you been able to find an apartment within your budget
- What’s your reaction when you hear about the consultation fee
Key Insights from research
- Lagos state has a population of about 23million people, and at least 86 persons migrate in to the state evert hour.
- The age range of users seeking apartments are between 25 -35.
- 3. 75% of them sort apartments using Agents while the rest were recommendations from family and friends, social media or real estate blogs.
- 92.5% of them discovered these agents online.
- 87.3% of them had terrible experiences in dealing with these agents.
During the define phase, I sorted out the user requirements and the initial ideas to create the personas
An empathy map allows us sum up our learning from engagement with people. The map provides 4 major areas in which to focus our attention on, thus providing an overview of a person's experience.
During the ideation phase, i used 2 methods in order to find more elegant and satisfying solutions to problems that effect the user experience of a product.
James is a Business Analyst in a reputable Bank in Nigeria, his work ethic is commendable and has been promoted a couple of times. He recently got married to the love of his life and wants to start a family but the current apartment is too small for him.
James checked on property listing websites and found a few agents on there but the registration fees and inspection fee ( on every inspection ) is discouraging. Due to his busy schedule James has a hard time meeting up with inspections and sometimes have to skip work just to inspect these apartments and at the end he is always disappointed on the type of houses the agents provide.
A friend referred him to an app that allows him find apartments, boycotting agents and their ridiculous charges and also allows him to Inspect apartment In 3D giving him a better experience and a feeling that he is physically present.
James is wowed and wonders why he hasn't heard of this awesome app. He quickly downloads the app and finds an apartment and immediately inspects it and it was everything he wished for. in minutes he finds an apartment that he likes and set a date to inspect with the House owner and pay the rent. All theses with no charges and at his convenient. James is happy and feels his search has finally come to an end.
During the design phase i sketched my ideas on a piece of paper, then created low fidelity wireframes, carried out testing on the wireframes, implemented changes and converted to high fidelity designs.View prototype here
Discover new homes : This allow users find homes easily, users can also select by location and search with filter options.
3D Tours: Life-like viewing for House hunters on their mobile device. giving him a better experience and a feeling that they are physically present. Also, Options to view houses in video mode.
Book inspection with agents, select a time and date based on your availability, and get reminders hours to inspection.
Usability testing is a technique i used to evaluate a product by testing it on potential customers, we set out metrics we wanted to achieve or measure our achievement by which were, HEART. We conduct testing sessions on 6 users and here is a summary of our findings and observations
- Not too complex registration process
- Easy to find homes as most of them searched rather than finding homes on the home page
- Users were Amazed by the 3D Tours as it was way different to what they were used to.
- Users liked the scheduling function with the landlord or house agent.
- Users found it difficult to use the scale on the pricing page.
In the end, I reflected on how the project went and like every other project, there were a lot of good and bad parts. My goal here was to pick up some lessons that would help me in future projects. So what were my biggest challenges?
- There were times where I didn't know what to do and needed to research more. I did a lot of things that weren't needed and needed more guidance to put me back on track.
- I struggled with research methods, its different when designers talk about research methods and actually using them.
- Talking to people was more difficult than I expected, as people may not want to talk or feel reluctant in giving you the answers you actually need.
- There was a lot of back and forth in my designs and methods as I wanted to make everything perfect ( well I hope I did )
What did I learn
- I learned a lot about ethnographic interviews, prior to this I never knew about it, Many thanks to Anfisign ( A mentor )
- I think I am liking the idea of proper documentation of my processes
- It is alright to get it wrong on earlier iterations as long as you get feedback and quickly work on them and re-test
- Nothing beats proper research, and that process is very important