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Afford It Mobile Application

Housing you can afford. 

My Role: UX / UI Designer

Team: Individual

Project Duration: 3 months

Programs Used: Sketch, InVision, Adobe XD, Photoshop

Gentrification shifts the character of a neighborhood with the influx of more affluent residents and businesses. This change causes the displacement of low-income people who can no longer afford the rising cost of housing.

Afford It is a mobile application that helps multi-generational people and new transplants easily search for affordable housing. Users can fill out a Section 8, Public or Subsidized Housing form within the app and track their results. The app also affords users the ability to track their spot within the affordable housing waiting lists.

Research & Development Process

Double Diamond Method
I used the double diamond model as a framework to develop this application. This method has 4 stages – discover, define, develop, and deliver. This process helped me to identify a problem area within gentrification and define a solution that benefits people who struggle with finding affordable housing.

Research and Design Methods
Below is a list of research and design methods used to develop this mobile application.


Primary Research
To get a better understanding of gentrification I watched a documentary called Priced Out which shows the struggles people face in Portland with housing affordability. I also interviewed the director. 


Survey Findings
I developed survey questions for property owners, new transplants, and multi-generational people to gain a better understanding of housing affordability. Below are the insights that I gathered. 

Secondary Research
I gathered secondary research about Section 8, Public Housing and Subsidized Housing to understand what the difference between the 3 is and how low-income individuals could benefit.

Bull’s Eye Diagram
I put together a bull's eye diagram based on secondary research and my notes from the Priced Out film that I watched. The information in the bull’s eye diagram relates to my project focus which is – housing resources for victims of gentrification.

I developed personas for 3 different types of people who are affected by gentrification – property owner, new transplant, multi-generational. This process helped me to determine who these people are and what their pain points, goals, and core needs are.

Task Scenarios
I created task scenarios for the property owner, new transplant, and multi-generational person to identify the types of tasks they would perform based on housing affordability in their current or desired neighborhoods. Below is my exploration. 

User Journey
I created a user journey of a new transplant. It maps out the feelings, actions ,and opportunities this person may experience in finding affordable housing. 

These were some of the initial sketches that I came up with before starting the wireframe process. The sketching process helped me to put my ideas and thoughts on paper. 

Using my sketches I began to develop low fidelity wireframes. This helped me to shape the experience of the application.

User Testing Insights 
I conducted user testing on the wireframes and gathered feedback from people. These insights were both negative and positive. Below are my findings.

To establish the color palate and the vibe of the application I put together a moodboard that defined the look and feel of the app.

Through this application, low-income individuals will have an easier time finding affordable housing. They can apply to Section 8, Public, and Subsidized housing programs, and see homes for rent under these programs.  Users can also track where they are on housing waiting lists. The gentrification problem is complex and this application does not solve all of the issues tied to it. However, it does help people find affordable housing, which provides harm reduction and is a great step in the right direction.

Final Prototype Video Walkthrough



Michael Sawina Design © 2021