case study : homesway analytics

A data-driven real estate experience.

For most, buying and selling a house is often more an emotional journey than a rational one. The founder of HomeSway saw an opportunity to provide valuable insights to each party involved along the way.

my role

System models
Wireframing & testing
Experience design (UX)
Interface design (UI)
Design system
User testing



Being a seasoned real estate agent herself, the founder understood that there was a serious lack of transparency throughout the process. She approached the problem from a sellers and a buyers perspective.

For sellers, understanding how active their market was — translate: how quickly would their home sell — was far-and-away a top concern. There was also a consistent theme of wondering what might they do do their home to make it more appealing?

For buyers, keeping the endless stream of home tours and open houses straight was overwhelming. Trying to keep things organized with notebooks and Post-Its or random app on their phone just wasn't cutting it.

What and why did they like about one over another? How did they feel when they first walked in? Did a partner or spouse feel the same way? How might they easily keep track of all their feedback and emotional nuances of each home?

My job was to sort through this chaos, bring calm to the stress, and do so in a way that was private and trustworthy.

Though a buyers lens.

Since this was an early-stage startup, my research consisted most of data leveraged from the founder's experience. I was however, able to observe a handful of home tours.

From this pseudo-ethnographic study, one key insight I took away was that buyers preferred to take notes on a room-by-room basis.

They liked the space in the kitchen, but the living room layout was funky. Or the master bath had unique tile flooring, but the bedroom had boring beige carpet. Then, when the tour was over was the they would summarize and rate how they felt about it.

While ideas were billowing in my head on how to make capturing this level of data easier and enjoyable — like using beacon technology to pull up each room — the real value here was how this data could be anonymously shared with the seller.

Current communication channels — or lack thereof — between a buyer and seller were inefficient, error-prone, and not exactly actionable.

Could we potentially use this information to help sellers make decisions on home improvements that would attract more buyers?

Indeed, we could. But first...

Furthering my research.

I was also fortunate enough to be able to sit in on a few phone calls of sellers looking to list their properties. I noticed they would rattle off all kinds of interesting nuggets about their home, things that I'd never seen on a traditional MLS listing.

These were traits the sellers were proud of, things they felt made their home unique to prospective buyers.

They also, as I mentioned at the onset of this case study, they were all immensely curious about how quickly their home would likely sell. Naturally, they relied on their agent for this.

Now I had two key value points for sellers: showcase what makes their home unique (beyond paint color and curb appeal) and provide insights into the market.

Expressing transparently.

Buying and selling is an emotional journey, and knowing a potential buyer's immediate emotional response is immensely valuable for sellers. What did they like — or not — in the kitchen? What did they the think of the layout, or the amount of natural light?

Having answers to questions like these help sellers and their agents accurately position the home to the right type of buyer.

Buyers input their feedback...

… and sellers could identify trends.

Building out journeys.

I began my design process by creating journey maps detailing each interaction across the various touch points for each user throughout the experience. From here, I began writing user scenarios, each based on a key interaction from the journey.

The goal of this exercise was to align our user goals with business objectives as well as define the scope of the MVP.

After a few iterations on the stories, we had a shared understanding of how each user would interact with the product.

After a few iterations on the stories, we had a shared understanding of how each user would interact with the product.

“JP turned a complex system into simple, clean, and elegant experiences. He was a true partner who genuinely listened to the needs of each user type.”

Sheri J.  |  Founder, homesway

Next was developing the information architecture and begin to prototype system interactions. The IA broken down into four segments: Teams, Homes, Tours, and Market Activity.

Designing the system.

As we got a feeling for each flow, I progressed into exploring the brand through mood boards and style sets. Various explorations in color, typography, interaction patterns, and data visualization.

Essentially, I had two products to consider: one for the sellers, one for the buyers, and it had to feel uniform. An agent would be flipping back-n-forth, or someone could be a buyer and a seller at the same time so it had to feel seamless. I chose to bridge this through color.

Using a balance of dark and light UI, the final palette was minimal; a bright pink and teal, each holding their own on dark or light.

Custom icons were created to provide visual queues for the most common types of feedback, such as layout, appliances, countertops, or fixtures.

Handing over the keys.

I have worked with a lot of startups like this one before, so it didn't surprise me that the Founder wanted to take things in-house after the MVP was designed. She had decided to extend her resources by working with an engineering team overseas, which unfortunately, I did not a role in.

I do know that the product was launched to the App Store, and last I heard, the Founder was in talks with Keller Williams for a potential sale of her IP.