DESIGN PROCESS
RATEHUB STUDY

My process and every UX process in a nutshell: research, design, test and implement. I tell everyone that UX is an iterative process. It's difficult for some organizations that want a one and done, move on approach. As a UX designer, I often uncover new insights into the process that may lead me to rethink my design decisions. Have a look at my insights work at Ratehub below.

1.Project

Mortgage rate aggregator within Canada’s leading financial comparison platform Ratehub

Redesign of the customer journey from online self-inquiry to recommended options and mortgage application process

2.Stakeholders

CEO (x2), Business Managers, Underwriting officer (SME)

Complex stakeholder relationships as Ratehub.ca became the first comparison service to integrate an affiliate in-house mortgage brokerage.

3.Team

Multidisciplinary team breakdown

Lead UX designer (1), product manager (1), QA (1) and full stack developers (7)

4.My Role

Lead UX Designer

5.Objectives

Validate the assumption that mortgage seekers wanted more information and context around mortgage rates, recommended options and wanted to continue the journey from rate comparison to application.

6.Users

Focus on purchase category user segmentations including  first time homebuyers and those seeking to move or buy a second property. Primary users: Purchasers who already signed to purchase a property. Secondary users: Purchasers seeking a property in the next 6-12 months.

THE
CHALLENGE

Most consumers are more likely to get a mortgage with their existing banking institutions and not shop price. They aren’t aware that a mortgage comparison website like Ratehub is not just an aggregator that simply posts the rates of major lenders like big banks and other lenders across Canada. Ratehub can provide valuable insights and information to mortgage seekers on why rates vary and other related key information. With an affiliated mortgage broker, Ratehub  provides end-to-end service that gives mortgage seekers rate choice, detailed information and helps them get their mortgage approved. 

DESIGN
PROCESS

Lean UX Canvas Framework

This process was used as a framework to build project alignment and guide interviews with stakeholders. Steps are outlined below:

 

  1. Business problem
  2. Business outcomes
  3. Users
  4. Users outcomes & benefits
  5. Solutions
  6. Hypothesis
  7. What’s the most important things we need to learn first
  8. What’s the least amount of work we need to do to learn the next most important things
Stakeholder Assumptions

Stakeholders wanted to validate the assumption that mortgage seekers wanted more information, recommended options and a continued application process that weren’t available on the website.

Trust:
Do mortgage seekers need information about the provider? What kind of information builds trust around lenders?

Rate information:
What kind of data will help mortgage seeker make their decision?

Broker or bank:
Do users know about broker’s benefits?
How do they want to establish relationship?

EMPATHY
MAP

An empathy map exercise was used to engage members of the mortgage business team including writers, pr, business managers, customer service representatives and designers to further explore assumptions, perspectives and insights into the customer journey. A lot of similarities were uncovered in this process.

USER
INTERVIEWS

12 existing and potential new mortgage seekers were recruited to test assumptions through an online video interview process.

Key Insights

Recognized brands like big banks or lowest rate are primary motivators
There are two major types of users: one is motivated by brand and another is by lowest rate. Trust in reputable brands are important for those who drive by brand. 

Mortgage seekers want to see detailed rate information and context up front

Both user types want to know about rate information for different reasons. For the brand motivated user group, they are quite skeptical about low rates. They want to understand what makes it low and they want to know if there are any hidden fees or rate conditions. For the price motivated user group, they want to know about rate information so they can try to maximize their negotiation and benefits. 

Service is important

Both user groups highly rate the importance of service as one of their primary mortgage considerations. A majority of users understand the benefits of a brokerage. However, they still hesitate because of the unknown. Human touch points and expert advice can build trust and establish a relationship between and mortgage seekers and brokers.   

BUILDING
PERSONAS

Previous proto-personas were validated by new user interviews and assisted in the development of final validated persona.

USER
JOURNEY
MAP

Based on user interview insights and validated assumptions, the user journey was revised and redesigned to add new steps based on mortgage seeker insights and expectations.

CARD
SORTING

Card sorting helped us to prioritize the most important things for users. We learned from user interviews of mortgage seekers that more rate information and context are important – for example, why is there so much variability among lenders? The most important information mortgage seekers wanted to know included:

  1. Interest rates
  2. Hidden or admin fees
  3. Monthly payment amount display
  4. Amortization schedule
  5. Bi-weekly payment amount display
  6. Length of rate hold

The biggest surprise learning from user interviews was the misperception around hidden fees from brokers or lenders in the mortgage industry. The data helped us to redesign content in a manner important to our users.

USABILITY
TESTING

Based on learnings from the card sorting, we developed a high-fidelity mock-up and prototype. A study was conducted to test the new concept containing added and reprioritized content vs the existing concept with a new study group.

Key learnings and outcome

New users preferred the new design concept for several reasons including:

  1. content structure and design was less overwhelming and provided better rate information in a more compact space.
  2. Up front and relevant rate information gave then enough information to make a decision to move on to the next step. 

PROJECT
OUTCOME

User prefers the new design concept because it’s less overwhelming and it shows relevant rate information that is informative and enough for them to make decisions to move on to the next step. The part that users need to see in the new concept is the density so users can see more rates with less scrolling.