The Netherlands Housing App is a digital real-estate agency platform allowing expats and young professionals to find a long- or short-term accommodation in the Netherlands.
The Netherlands attracts large numbers of expats coming to work in the global companies based in Amsterdam, and in the many diplomatic institutions around the country. Students, similarly, flock to the country for the world class universities and liberal, relaxed lifestyle. Wherever you find yourself in the Netherlands, the chances are that you’ll be welcomed into a vibrant, mixed community of locals and foreigners. Before you can relocate, though, you need to find a home. However, finding a place to live in Amsterdam can be really challenging and time consuming, especially if you’re working on a budget.
My solution would be a commission-free digital real estate agency platform which allows the finding of a long- or short-term accommodation easier, faster and in a more effective way. Users could browse rental offers through different filters, view property results on a map closest to their work area and contact owners or real e-state agencies by calling or direct messaging for more rental details or viewing request.
The Netherlands is currently one of the most popular destination for expats, drawing a record number of international students and young professionals each year. A lot of well-known multinational companies have European headquarters located in the Netherlands, and many young people are picking the destination to begin their careers or to take up internships in their intended fields of study.
Source website page printscreen ( https://www.expatexplorer.hsbc.com/survey/)
The population density of Netherlands in 2020 was 412.49 people per square kilometer which places the country as one of the most populated and smallest area in Europe at the same time. Unfortunately, a limited territory with still growing population leads to the lack of free apartments to rent and unnecessary stress to find a right place to stay at.
Source website page printscreen (https://www.macrotrends.net/countries/NLD/netherlands/population-density)
The most popular real-estate websites in the Netherlands are: Funda.nl, Pararius.nl and Kamernet.nl.
All websites are available in English language, but Funda.nl offer browsing on mobile devices only in Dutch language. Pararius.nl is not a very popular service due to no mobile app. To have full access to a Kamernet.nl offer, consumers need to pay a fee.
Understand consumer needs
In order to better understand expectations of consumers who are looking for an apartment to rent in the Netherlands, I interviewed 10 people who are more familiar with that topic. The survey results are:
Most of the interviewees have found their place to live by a house agency services with 40% of people considering to move house to live closer to work. Unfortunately, 77% of people haven’t gotten any help from employer with the accommodation costs. Expats who are considering to relocate to the Netherlands need to find the apartment to stay on their own.
How can I help expats to find a right place to stay in the Netherlands quicker, pay no extra fee and improve contact between the tenant, landlord and agency?
To be able to better understand user expectations, I correlated all information into an ideal user called Lucas. Lucas represents an average expat who is doing an internship in international corporation located in the Netherlands. Unfortunately, he is struggling with finding a new place to live closer to his work area. He doesn’t want to pay a fee to get full access to rental’s offers or be forced to browse properties on websites available only on desktops.
Creating a user persona played the main role in understanding the housing problem and it helped me to solve the issue during a whole decision making process. So let’s meet Lucas:
Bearing in mind the large number of incoming people to the Netherlands, complicated market situation and expat’s expectations, I collected insights and attributes to organize my workflow. I could define correlations between them to be able to design better process thinking and a layout of mobile application sensu stricte dedicated on Dutch market.
To simplify my collection of like-minded ideas and application design vision, I have created the board to present accomplished tasks.
I really wanted to use the orange color as the main one which is symbolic of the Dutch Nation and is also closely related to historical and country culture background. Moreover, I have noticed that color is used in visual identification by many international Dutch companies, such as ING Group, Thuisbezorgd, NN Group, or Royal Dutch Shell. My aim of the chosen color palette was to highlight the market to which the Netherlands Housing app is dedicated for.
Visual identification was a big part of the project. I would like to create a compact and catchy logo that would draw potential attention on the App Store.
Basic sketches are simplified to present a general visual concept and possible layout of application.
Above sketches were a core to design architecture information, present features, and hierarchy of application. Visualization clarifies user’s navigation, function, content, and flows.
Based on made research, sketches and architecture information, I was finally able to design medium fidelity wireframes that presented a general idea of the Netherlands Housing app concept.
Working on The Netherland Housing concept helped me to go through a lot of different steps from the idea, research, design to final prototyping. Moreover, the project was really motivating for me to increase awareness of a solving a specific group issues. It was a really interesting challenge because I learned a lot of things about current tough situations on the Dutch real-estate market and we as a UX/UI designer, should be more involved it to help expats to solve a housing problem.
For the next steps, I would like to expend application of self-storage features to better plan a movie house and provide a short-term staying option for business visitors.