The evolution of property personas
Product designers: Kaya Lee, Amy Yu
Given the national obsession with property, at Domain, it was easy to imagine that we were designing for everyone. After all, almost everyone has some experience with property, whether as a buyer, renter, or seller. However, this wasn’t going to help us undertand property seekers, or inspire user-centred product solutions.
While there had been some personas that had been created previously, they had received no traction with the product teams, and could more accurately be labelled as ‘market segments’. We agreed we needed to undertake a qualitative research study to identity who these property seekers are, and create a set of personas based on deep insights into people’s behaviours, their goals and motivations.
How did we come up with the personas?
We scoped our personas to buyers and sellers, with the primary focus on buyers, since the product offering at the time was mainly targeted to this group. We decided to include in our research sample buyers with different levels of experience, property types, ages and more. We used semi-structured interviews to gather data.
Early in the research, we started to see themes emerge. Even in different segments, the motivations for buying property were consistent. People were looking to secure their financial future, and/or make a home for their families. What was different was their mindset towards property purchaes, the strategies they used, and their behaviours around researching the property market.
We coded and clustered the interview data into goals, mindsets, strategies, pain points, and other gorupings to start to identify stronger themes. This ultimately resulted in three property personas: the Dreamer, the Pragmatist, and the Entrepreneur, and the Property Persona Insight Cards.
Property Persona Insight Cards
Socialising research was something we thought about early in the process. We wanted to create a way for product teams to use the personas, and thereby keep human drivers and user happiness front-of-mind when coming up with product features.
These cards are designed to assist teams in a journey of user engagement; they present a range of insights, and questions to help teams understand property seekers better. Each card carries a research insight with quotes, or thought starter questions, to help teams during research exploration, ideation or team discussions.
Doing a foundational research project as a side project was hard. What I learned through doing the personas was rather than trying to trying to spend a few hours on it every week, it’s more productive to carve out a large chunk of time to dedicate to the research process.
As Domain continues to identify new opportunities, the reason for undertaking this kind of generative research is crucially, to understand the varied needs of property seekers. Product teams can use the personas to inspire hypotheses and ideas, or dive deeper into a problem area. And in doing so, build products and services for real people and not just market segments.