Homes for Ireland

Visualising first-time buyers’ journey home

Role Researcher + Designer
Employer Zero-G, Dublin
Client Developer 
Year 2018

This project client, a housing developer, had a vision to build new homes all across Ireland to support thriving communities. They needed a clearer picture of their market, specifically the wants and needs of their target customers and the communities they build in. 


Research approach

The project began with qualitative research. We engaged a research recruitment company to select participants who were potential buyers or new homeowners. Some of these were our client’s customers, others had engaged with their competitors. As part of the research team, I visited participants in their homes to document the experience they had on their journey to home ownership.

“When you move in you start to forget the pain, like giving birth!”


Simultaneously, we engaged in desk research to gain an understanding of the market in terms of competitors, trends, and examples of best practice. We also conducted interviews with key stakeholders within the company to better understand things like company culture, their approach to customer service and communities, and their relationships with local, national and regional authorities, as well as to build a picture of the internal process from project scope to final sale.


Based on our interview participants, we identified four persona types: Starters, who were in their mid- to late-twenties, child-free and looking to get on the property ladder as a sensible move; Settlers, who were couples with children and looking for a home for life; Stressers, who were watching the increase in rent and house prices and felt compelled to buy, and finally Sages, who were moving from a previous property and looking for easy, comfortable living. I visualised our personas and worked with the other members of the research team to flesh out criteria that was relevant and exemplary of the persona groups’ desires and experiences.

The Customer Journey

We used this information to begin to build and visualise a customer journey map* that charted the customer experience from the moment their initial search was triggered to the handover of keys, and on into their first month in their new home. We layered the map with a visual of the emotional variance experienced by the most common persona type, highlighting stress points and moments of delight throughout the process. We identified key touchpoints along the process with banks, solicitor, estate agents and the developers.