DH HeroDH Hero

Dream Home

Case Study Sprint: Focus on UI and Feature Development

Given the task of creating a concept for an online rental listings service, I developed the subscription service Dream Home app. Dream Home's distinguishing characteristic is to be the integrity of its No Fee listings to truly put the renter's needs before those of agents and landlords. 

I was tasked with choosing the ideal product (responsive web or app) to debut Dream Home and identifying renter's pain points in finding new homes in order to deliver a product with useful features unique to itself. 


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Always Beginning With Research

My initial step was to gather background information on the user group, the New York City renter. Once I gathered demographic information the next step was to determine their likely wants, needs and behavior patterns when rental hunting.

Key Takeaways From Background User Research 

  • Average rent cost within a 10mile radius of New York City is $3164/month
  • 71% of single occupancy renters in New York CIty are aged 25-45
  • Single occupancy renters are predominantly female or young families (Census data)


  • By the average cost, these renters are relatively affluent, college educated and employed
  • Based on the age group of the majority of renters they are likely to be smartphone users
  • Smartphone users commonly subscribe to subscription app services
  • Millenial internet use is occurring more and more on their smartphones than on laptops 

Developing a Persona

Since this was a design sprint a single persona was constructed based on the user research conducted

Competitive Analysis

In order to differentiate Dream Home from currently available options, a competitive analysis was conducted with its would be main competitors: Street Easy, Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com.

Major listing apps and biggest competitors: Street Easy, Trulia and Zillow

Determining Pain Points

Determining what frustrates users most during and just after the search for an apartment could identify potential features to further distinguish Dream Home from its competitors. After researching this, complaints fell into the following three categories:

  • Concerns regarding the integrity and reliability of the management, landlord and super
  • Concerns about the buildings integrity: plumbing, noise, renovations, pests
  • Neighborhood safety, projections for the future (construction, future developments)
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I chose to explore a feature that seeks to allow users to both rate their landlords and view prospective landlord ratings for property listings. These ratings would be directly based on scores determined by how well renter's pain points were addressed. Furthermore, an additional filter could be added in order to limit listings results to only the best-rated properties.


Blue was selected as Dream Home's dominant color because of the psychology associated with the shade. It is studied to encourage serenity in viewers and convey a sense of security and intelligence, all key attributes one would want associated with choosing their next home. 

Dream Home app color palette

Refining UI Features

Several iterations were done on the screens showcasing Dream Home's key features; among the notable changes made were opting for a more vibrant color palette. After conducting further research on effective rating systems, the traditional 5 stars interface was altered to a star emoji slider which changed color between states as shown below: 

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