At Rabobank, the Netherlands’ biggest mortgage lender, I worked for two years as a designer for the hypotheekdossier (the ‘mortgage dossier’). I started out as a regular designer, and ended up as the lead UX designer for the project.
The ‘hypotheekdossier’ is a complete re-imagining and re-engineering of the mortgage process, bringing it into the 21st century. It is a cross-channel and thoroughly modern approach in helping customers buying their new homes.
One of the main challenges of a project like this is the constant weighing of interests, some of which are not mutually compatible. The end users, both customers and mortgage advisors, have interests. There are technical limitations, and laws and regulations to comply to. It is of great importance to make the right decisions, and always keep the user experience and usability top of mind.
Concept and strategy
My contributions to the project were varied. For example, I designed a new upload module that makes it possible to simply snap photographs with your smartphone. I also prototyped this module as a proof of concept:
As another example, I designed the module that mortgage advisors use when helping a client seek out a mortgage. This requires a constant weighing of the needs of the advisor (advanced options) versus the needs of the client, who looks at the same screen and needs to be able to understand what happens.
I was involved with long-term strategy discussions involving the ‘hypotheekdossier’, and was able to advance those discussions in making rapid concept visualisations of proposed features.
The ‘hypotheekdossier’ is build in an Agile fashion, with bi-weekly releases. To keep everything humming, a lot of coordination is required between the eight build teams, the scrum masters and the three other designers on the project, without letting user friendliness out of sight.
Rabobank is a big proponent of user testing, and has a state of the art, much used, UX center. For the dossier, we did regular user tests using a variety of techniques. Sometimes we used beta versions, sometimes we used prototypes (mainly using an Axure prototype), and sometimes we would do interviews with stakeholders of use paper prototyping in early stages of the design process.