CITY OF BOSTON

A digital guide empowering first-time homebuyers to successfully navigate the complex Boston housing system and the process of homebuying. Boston is experiencing a housing crisis. Over the last five years it has become the 2nd most expensive city for renters and 10th most expensive for buyers in the US. My team partnered with the City of Boston's Home Center and Housing Innovation Lab to research this crisis and create an intervention to assist homebuyers.

SCOPE

UI/UX Design
Research

ROLE

Project Lead

YEAR

Present

YEAR

2024

guiding bostonians through the journey to Homeownership

Stakeholder Diagram

THE
CHALLENGE

Research the Boston housing crisis and the experiences of those buying homes to build an intervention that alleviates the complexity and mystique associated with homebuying. We focused on prospective homebuyers most in need of extra assistance: first-time homebuyers, transplants, immigrants, etc.

Empathy Maps

Interview Map

RESEARCH

After preliminary exploration into the stakeholders involved in the Boston homebuying system, we continued our research through surveys and interviews. First, we visited a Homebuyer 101 Course and surveyed 35 potential homebuyers at the onset of their journey. Then, we interviewed homebuyers, homeowners, and experts in the field to delve deeper into the main obstacles keeping Bostonians from purchasing a home.

User Personas

User Journey Map

Service Blueprint

The research revealed three main struggles: information disarray, general confusion about the process's order, and what actions need to be taken at each step. Additionally, the financial and informational resources available are scattered across many institutions. Prospective homebuyers desire an accessible guide with a step-by-step walkthrough of the homebuying journey and a consolidation of both information and resources.

Site Map

DESIGN

Implementing our research into a tangible intervention began by determining that this guide would be a COB-associated website. The main purpose of the website is to break down the homebuying journey into steps with clear action items. Additionally, it centralizes the resources and assistance programs available to homebuyers via non-profit organizations and varying levels of government.

As a COB-associated site we were required to follow the City's visual and accessibility guidelines. This made structural ideation much simpler, so we jumped directly into designing mid-fi wireframes. Throughout the process we prioritized the mobile design as the majority of the Boston Home Center's constituents only have internet access through mobile devices.

Hi-fis

USER TESTING

Other than the constant peer-to-peer testing we conducted before iterating and increasing fidelity, the functional Figma prototype was also formally tested at a design conference. We placed participants in the shoes of the homebuyer by presenting them with information retrieval tasks. We analyzed the site's functionality and how easy it is to retrieve specific information based on realistic actions taken by homebuyers.

User Testing Results

With only three weeks before the deadline and the guide's development already underway, we were directed to change course. The City had decided that the external COB-associated site's content must be transferred to internal COB webpages. Ultimately, with some design sacrifices, we developed the guide's two main pages: the step-by-step outline of the homebuying journey and the centralized resources page.

Click the image to explore!

THE
OUTCOME

The live webpages successfully address major pain points experienced by homebuyers, bringing elusive information to one place. Two weeks since launch, we have received positive feedback from both prospective homebuyers exploring their path and experts using the guide as a tool of instruction. We have also set up a feedback loop to manage the project's impact over the coming year.