The problem and hypothesis
How to improve a fragmented, impersonal and confusing experience
The strategy we were presented with was that many of the Banks exisiting customers leave the Bank when it comes to taking out a mortgage. Our research told us that customers flocked to mortgage brokers to get help cutting through the complexity of a home loan. They saw the broker as a single point of trust between the Banks and real estate agents and sought their help in an otherwise.fragmented, impersonal and complex experience.
With this in mind our goal was to build a platform that would help improve transparency, reduce complexity and return a sense of control to customers looking to explore the property market. We wanted to make the process less daunting by offering first time and subsequent buyers a way to help them with all their end-to-end buying needs. To integrate it into our existing banking platform and make it much easier to engage with.
Overview of my role
As the experience design director I lead the design team working on the Banks new property platform that covered a number of projects. We began as a small team researching insights that would help us develop a customer-centric approach to the business problem. This allowed us to develop a new service proposition, new products, and a new vision for the Bank. We rapidly prototyped and tested these to ensure they would deliver business objectives while meeting our customers expectations through an innovative new property experience.
This was presented to the executive stakeholder team to secure funding to allow us to begin the development of this project. We then finalised the scope of work and began building a large multi-discipline design team across a number of different projects. These included the development of an iOS and Android App, customer facing financial tools, new products and a service design proposition. We set ourselves an aggressive timeline with a number of milestones that needed to be achieved, the success of the project came from our ability to deliver.
Working closely with the business we developed an innovative new product vision focused towards delivering real value to customers throughout their product engagement journey throughout the lifetime of the service.
We defined the product by evangelising the user needs while balancing the business goals. I worked effortlessly with the team to prioritise and negotiate the product features.
I lead the UX and UI design teams as well as working within these design teams. I was hands on with the wireframes through to the final UI design and pattern libraries to bring the product to life.
We developed a lean UX methodology to enable the design team to collaborate closely with our engineers to deliver an design and code at the same time to dramatically increase our work capacity.
My role included the mentorship to a number of design resources within the program. I worked effortlessly to raise the standard of work by helping improve their approach to design.
Lean design methodology
The design and implementation of a faster, smarter way to work
Design, learn and
The purpose of the discovery phase is to create a compelling and tangible product vision, strategy and prototype. By using market research to help define features, target users and business ROI targets we create rapid, iterative prototypes to test the hypothesis to ensure it meets user needs.
During this work stream the team designs, tests and delivers the minimal viable product, ready for launch. The hypothesis goes through iteration and experimentation to ensure it's positioned to ignite widespread user interest with advocate users.
We seek out and respond to user feedback to influence the ongoing development and evolution of the product experience. From the product features through the the hypothesis business goals we constantly evolve the product to ensure that it successfully attracts the target audience and meets or exceeds the business targets.
Rapid, Iterative Prototyping
Minimal Viable Product (MVP)
BETA Integrated Back-end
Developing user personas
Conducting in-depth research to better understand customers needs
We identified three core groups of users that we wanted to target. Coasters being those who were less engaged, optimizers who were incredibly engaged and couples who
wanted to share the experience with their partners. The unique behaviours that each of these groups displayed helped us define how our features needed to work.
Decisions in cruise control
Feel like they are on-track and have a simplified system in place to allow them to reach their goals. Are more likely to take advice from someone they know, so trust is essential.
Key insights & behaviours
Are neither rich nor poor.
Parents taught them to enjoy life, not just to survive.
Are established in their financial management, are really only hands on when they need to be.
Balancing today & tomorrow
Are financially confident and like to take control. They will strive to get the best possible outcome when it comes to fulfilling their dream of owning property.
Key insights & behaviours
Like controlling the ins and outs of their finances at a micro level
Want to ensure they get the best possible deal without compromising their lifestyle.
Are confident in day-to-day finances and always looking at ways to better optimise them.
Big decisions require teamwork
Buying property is a big decision and one that they want to do together. Sharing the experience is a must to help them better understand their combined financial capacity.
Key insights & behaviours
Have just begun to look at their finances together rather than as individuals.
Want to keep learning about how to better manage their finances; don't want to wait anymore.
Prefer to deal with someone they trust and have a good relationship with already.
Understanding user needs
We continuously mapped our users emotional states throughout the design process
By developing an in-depth research plan we gained deeper qualitative insight into customers' pain points throughout the buying process. This allowed us to better understand their emotional levels throughout the journey to uncover where the biggest improvements needed to happen.
To discover how CommBank's products and services can satisfy my needs and goals.
Provide relevant messages
Appeal to emotional states & aspirations
To get to a shortlist of products and services based on a set of criteria.
Support peer conversion
It also allowed us to communicate the severity of the current process and support conversations throughout the design process. This approach to research was a major breakthrough for us and it helped ensure our focus was on improving the overall product and service.
To confirm if the product or service is the best fit.
To apply with ease and receive the product and service as expected - without having second thoughts.
Reassure the purchase
What type of buyer are you
- Live in
- Not sure?
Am I buying alone or with someone else How much do I/we know about the process?
What do you know about me that makes the experience unique to me.
How can I figure out what’s my buying capacity?
- Expenses How much deposit do
What can I/we afford to repay What suits my current lifestyle
What do we need to consider
What could I/we really afford? Benefits of buying what you can afford now Be patient with your search Don’t let yourself feel pressured How to negotiate the sale
Do your homework on the property
Finding someone that’s willing to help
Who can we speak with to get honest help
all the parties that need to be involved
What’s the right property for us
What should we search for
What suburb should we be looking in
What property type suits our price range
What property features are important
What could the rental return be
What are the suburb insights and growth
Getting to see the property
Managing the inspection times
How to get to the inspections
Priortising multiple locations
Managing my calendar
Now thatyou’ve found the right property
Are we ready to buy the property
Who else might be interested
How are they going to sell the property
When is the auction/sale
Missing out on the property
What factors caused us to miss out
Do we need
to reset expectations
Are we still looking for the right thing
Is this still the right area
Going back to the drawing board
What was our plan B
Resetting our expectations
the market better
Readdressing our price range
Getting better prepared
how to buy property
Understanding the value of the market
The difference between going to auction and making an offer
Understanding how to bid at the auction
Using an agent to help your bid
You got your place, what comes next
Organising pest and building inspections
Securing the financial loan
Tracking the loan process to ensure it goes smoothly
Finalising the contracts and paperwork
We’re under contract what’s next?
Make the final property checks
Paying the stamp duty on the sale
Understanding and paying rates and strata fees
Collecting the keys to your new property
Celebrate and congratulate the users effort
Moving in or renting out your new property
Budgeting to move house
Redirecting your mail
Responsibility of a landlord
Finding someone to manage your property
Finding new tenants
What to look for in a tenant
What rent should I/we charge?
Transforming an entire eco-system
Improving every interaction between our service and our customers
This work showed the organisation they would need to transform the entire model for how they engaged their customers in the mortgage space. To assist them with this we also developed a customer engagement framework that would shift the Banks focus from new products sign-up to servicing existing products through management and tools.
This would help strengthen the Banks customer value proposition. It outlined a product eco-system that consisted of a new flexible mortgage product, App and desktop experiences, a responsive mortgage application, shared user experience, mortgage calculators and a number of product management tools.
Designing the right features
Rigorous design and testing of numerous features to ensure we met user needs
Activity based cards allow users to
browse property information faster
Interlayer financial data to enhance the property search experience
Easy-to-read articles to help educate users on the buying process
In-dept contextual calculators to help users get market ready
Use real-time financial data to provide accurate financial positions
Informed property search
Reshaping the way users view property to allow for smarter financial decisions
The latest properties
Up-to-date property listings sourced from Australia's leading real estate sites.
Overlayed financial data
Users can access a properties full valuation and see the loans repayment breakdown by simply signing into the App.
In depth financial data on how properties perform in the suburb, allowing users to evaluate an area's long term performance.
Making the home buying process easier
Delivering useful features that help users with their everyday banking needs.
For the engaged investor the App includes rich financial data to help them better understand the market. The App also included this data into the budgeting and repayment calculators to help investors their ability to borrow and repay mortgages on investment properties.
The Bank offers their property valuation data to all users that set up a profile within the App giving property seekers a valuable head start in the property market. Additionally for those users who use the calculators the App offer them further security with in-built pre approval.
Plan your viewings
With inbuilt property viewing times, inspection calendar and messaging functionality users can easily plan and manage their ability to check out properties and chat with real estate agents. We also allow users to speak with lenders and local branch managers to help make the borrowing process run smoothly.
Integrated financial calculators
First of their kind calculators that sync with customers financials validating the loan application
Sync with accounts
When users log in the calculators access their account and pre load income and expanses making them much easier to use.
Validate the loan
Once used users info is saved against their profile and synced with the loan application for automatic loan approval.
Simplify the process
These smarter calculators make the entire process of applying for a loan twice as easy.