Case Study. Springload
In late 2012, Kiwibank approached Springload with a plan to change the way New Zealanders buy houses. Working together, Kiwibank and Springload noted that existing websites and applications on the market addressed isolated facets of the house finding process. Kiwibank Home Hunter would bring together all the important steps under one digital umbrella; it would be a digital house-hunting solution that would also allow the bank to participate earlier in the home-hunting process while improving the overall experience for potential customers.
In developing the tool, Springload worked with Sush Mobile on the native versions of Kiwibank Home Hunter for iOS and Android, and built the fully responsive web app.
Home Hunter is essentially a property search tool on steroids. It pulls together the various threads of home buying - looking at open homes, applying for pre-approval on a bank loan, instant loan preapproval, mortgage calculators, plus other bells and whistles, such as a “sun finder”, which gives users an impression of how much sun a particular property gets throughout the year by superimposing the path of the sun through the device's camera - into digital platforms designed to make the overall experience more pleasurable and less complex.
Essentially, the tool allows people to work out what they can afford; it searches for houses and provides a tool for sorting out finance. It is successful, says Springload's Richard Allardice, because “it gives the people what they want: an eminently useful product coupled with a great customer experience”.
So, what is it about the Kiwibank Home Hunter that makes it so good? Things to note include native applications that take full advantage of mobile device features, including location, appropriate User Interface (UI) conventions and animations for a simple, fast, engaging user experience. Says Spingload, the user experience became a key competitive advantage, with time spent sweating over the details of searching and browsing, and making the interface a pleasure to use. Put simply, Home Hunter has been successful because it gives the people what they want: an eminently useful product coupled with a great customer experience. It is also, importantly, a catalyst for more efficient business practices and, as such, occupies that happy middle ground between customer and business needs.
Perhaps tool's greatest feat is that it also finds a vein of empathy and thoughtfulness, which can be difficult to express in a digital world. Home Hunter provides useful answers to customer questions like “What's a property really worth?” or “Which houses can I confidently put an offer on?” and presents rich real estate and bank information in an intuitive and easy to digest way.
In their sumations, the Best Awards judges commented that “Home Hunter is a great example of design that takes a complex, dynamic process, and makes it dramatically friendlier” and that “the designers showed real empathy for the home seekers' journey, and the open homing experience”. With respect to the sun finder, the judges said the developers “found a compelling use case for Augmented Reality (rare in itself), then included it almost as an aside”.
Purple Pin 2014