AM Mortgages - about us webpage

AM Mortgages - mortgage advisors

AM Mortgages are a small independent company specialising in mortgage advice and protection. They are based in Hartlepool and serve Teesside and the wider North East region, with expert support and guidance.

The company had been operating for many years under the arm of another company. After branching out and setting up their own company, they required an online presence to communicate their offer and encourage customers to get in touch.

Timeframe: 3 months.

Responsibility: workshop facilitation, research, design and website development.

EMPATHISE

What do we know? What would we like to know?

Starting a project on the right foot is key, there is often a lot of uncertainty and questions from both parties. I arranged a half-day workshop with stakeholders at their offices in Hartlepool. Using a UX canvas we collectively shaped and defined the project, highlighted areas for further research and generated hypothesis to prototype.

Key findings

  • AM Mortgages selling point is their personal, friendly, efficient and impartial advice.
  • The purpose of the website is to generate enquiries and share their breadth of services.
  • Providing mortgage advice is heavily legislated, transparency and trust are essential.
UX canvas - completed

The UX canvas used in the stakeholder workshop.

RESEARCH

Who are the users and what information do they require?

I like to create personas to focus stakeholder's attention to the needs of real people, it helps with discussions and decision making too. Throughout the project, we asked ourselves: would this be useful and of value to Stephen? Would this meet Stephen's needs? Does Stephen require any more information?

Key findings

  • Transparency and trust are major influences in choosing a mortgage advisor.
  • Whilst looking around for mortgage advisors, customers noticed some of the comptetitors websites were hard to use on their mobile devices.
  • Mortgages are complicated, there are lots of options available and it's hard for customers to determine whether they are choosing the right product.
Persona - Stephen Jones, property mogul

One of the personas derivied from customer interviews.

DESIGN

Sitemap

This was the first website which AM Mortgages have developed which meant there was no existing information architecture or insight to help inform the new sitemap. The sitemap required several iterations to ensure that all of the key services were featured and that regulatory information such as the privacy policy and complaints procedure were present.

New website sitemap

The new proposed sitemap.

DESIGN

What should this website look like?

I took a mobile-first approach to the designs, the first iteration was shown to the stakeholders and some of their trusted customers. The feedback highlighted some areas for improvement, the font-size was small and difficult for some to read and the calls to action within the cards weren't clear. The second iteration aimed to address the issues raised in the feedback.

Mobile designs - built in sketch

The first iterations of the design, built using Sketch.

BUILD

What improvements where made?

The website was built using the Bootstrap framework, it was heavily customised in terms of both functionality and aesthetics. The design is responsive and works across seamlessly across all screen sizes.

Performance is often overlooked whilst developing websites, despite it being a key element of good user experience. Throughout the build, I used webpagetest and Google's PageSpeed Insights to evaluate performance and highlight opportunities for improvement.

High fidelity wireframe of the new website

The page speed performance of the AM Mortgages home page.

Reflection

Now that the website is live, I will continue to work with Andrew and the team to help drive traffic to the website, monitor performance and make further recommendations to improve their online presence.

Lessons learnt

  • The workshop with the client at the beginning of the project helped to create a shared understanding, build trust and align both parties. The UX canvas is a great tool for shaping projects and it's something I will continue to use.
  • Involving end-users during the project would have helped validate and inform design and content decisions, but due to budget and time constraints, user feedback involvement was minimal.
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