StreamLoan was created to simplify and modernize the experience of getting a home mortgage or loan.
StreamLoan is an early-stage startup that provides a modern solution for home buyers to manage the mortgage process. They offer an iOS app that allows home buyers to collaborate with lenders and brokers.
StreamLoan was preparing to launch their first iPhone app and hired our team to update the user interface.
Our goal was to:
- Refine the product’s overall appearance and establish its credibility
- Improve navigation and usability of the app
I was a UI + UX designer on a team of 9 designers. My most significant contribution was designing all the ways to enter the app: signing up, logging in, and retrieving passwords.
I also administered usability tests, contributed to the style guide, and helped make the finalized design solutions consistent across the app. Throughout the project, I regularly coordinated with the founders and engineers to discuss requirements and design solutions.
With the redesign, we found that users were better able to use key features and navigate the app. Users also described the new design as “intuitive,” “simple,” and “straightforward.”
The updated designs led to:
- 80% increase in overall usability and ease of navigation
- 60% improvement in perceptions of security and trustworthiness
Personas and Usability Testing
Using information supplied by the client, we created two personas that represented home buyers. These personas aided in closing the empathy gap and also informed our recruitment criteria for usability testing.
We conducted usability tests with six participants who’d recently purchased or re-financed their home. They tested the full app experience — including signing in, creating a loan file (or “bundle”), and collaborating with lending agents. We discovered that the most significant usability issues were caused by the navigation scheme, custom iconography and terminology, and a lack of branding and aesthetics.
Design Studio and Branding Workshop
Drawing on our recent findings, our team sketched various UI concepts during a design studio session. We voted for the most compelling ideas to flesh out in the next stages of the design process.
We also held a branding workshop with StreamLoan’s founding CEO to brainstorm branding and design guidelines. These principles were further refined and incorporated into the style guide. Below are the design principles we came up with. You can also view the full style guide here.
Focusing on the Signup Process
Now that we’d defined StreamLoan’s design principles, it was time to create a visual experience consistent with their brand. Since the app is packed with processes and functionality, we decided to divide the work among the team. I took on the responsibility of designing all the ways a user could enter the app, including signing up, signing in, and logging in.
While working to enhance the visual appeal of the signup process, I also noticed several opportunities to increase usability and credibility.
Wireframing, Prototyping, Iterating
I created a preliminary interaction flow to discuss proposed changes and ensure alignment on the direction of the new sign up, sign in, and login flows.
I continued iterating on these flows and shared new versions every week with the StreamLoan team via InVision and Marvel prototypes. These wireframes were gradually brought up to hi-fidelity based on a combination of client feedback, ad-hoc testing results, and changes to the style guide.
A before-and-after comparison of 5 sample screens from the signup and login flows is below.
Validation Testing & Next Steps
We assembled all our designs and ensured that the look and feel was consistent throughout the app. We conducted another round of usability tests on our final solutions to see how well they performed.
While the overall response to the new design was very positive, we noticed a couple opportunities to continue improving the app. Based on our observations, I would recommend that StreamLoan:
- Replace the term “bundle” (meaning: loan file) to improve comprehension
- Reconsider decreasing the number of required steps to sign up, including eliminating the “registration wall”