Have you ever applied for a home loan?
The entire process can be overwhelming and stressful. Asking for a large sum of money is nerve-racking enough, but going through the process of loan qualification can be downright unfriendly.
This is precisely what Toni Mladenova, co-founder and director at Yard Home Loans, wanted to avoid. When she approached us with the vision of launching a 100% digital, end-to-end home loan product, she definitely did not want the process to feel buttoned-up and intimidating like it was in our grandparents’ day. Instead, her goal was to deliver a product that made the user feel empowered and welcomed.
Our task was almost as daunting as applying for a home loan.
We Started With the Brand
Your brand isn’t simply what you say about yourself. Your brand is mostly what your customers experience when interacting with you. If your customers feel overwhelmed and alone when using your product — a common experience for home loan applicants — then that’s your brand.
This is why you can’t separate your brand from user experience. You must think about both of them at the same time.
And that’s exactly what we did with Yard. We went through a creative journey of uncovering the brand’s core values and how we wanted customers to perceive Yard.
We Defined the Users and Userflows
In Yard’s case, there’s more than one user. User A may want to purchase a new home. User B may want to refinance their current home. We had to map out those two journeys.
But as we traveled down User A’s path, we realised that User A may want to purchase a home or purchase an investment property. Likewise, User B may want to refinance their own home or investment property as well. This split off into four different journeys that a user could take.
We needed to map out the entire journey to simplify the process for the user, whether they were purchasing or refinancing their own home or investment property.
We Simplified the Process
Remember that one of our goals was to simplify the home loan application process. When you look at this flow chart, it probably doesn’t look very simple. In fact, in one of our simpler form walkthroughs, there were still 50+ possible interactions that included button selections and typing in text fields.
We had to make it simpler than that. After all, if the user had to click and type through all of that, they may just lose heart and give up.
We Provided Easily Accessible Calculators
Situated prominently on the navigation menu is a link to two calculators, one that assesses set up costs and another that determines how much a user can borrow. These calculators target people who are still in the exploration stage of the sales funnel. They deliver immediate value to Yard’s prospective customer, but they also do something else quite well: These calculators bring the prospective customer into the Yard sales funnel.
We Chose a Simple Call to Action
If you notice on the Yard home page, we echo one call to action seven different times. That call to action is “apply now.” Our goal is to pull users into the application process. By repeating this simple call to action multiple times, the visitor clearly understands the next step.
We Made it Easy to Access Yard’s Team
While the bulk of the loan process occurs online, Yard also wanted to be available to their customers. We made it easy for prospective customers to reach out to the Yard team if they need support. We included images of Yard team members to convey friendliness and give Yard a human face.