Paris Habitat

Paris Habitat is a social landlord for the city of Paris. To leverage their large dataset, they organized a competition for innovations. My team and I propose proposed at this occasion to use data for more transparency. Our solution is a website providing the estimated waiting time of a social housing application.

Company

Paris Habitat

Year

2018

Time

2 days

Role

UX Designer

Context

Two days and an heterogenous set of data, those were the contraints of the competition. They were three selection criteria for the jury :

  • the use of existing data of Paris Habitat
  • the ability to develop the proposal right-away
  • and the problems it solves for both users of social housing and Paris Habitat employees.

Challenge

We focused on the process of social housing application. We targeted both the current and futur applicants as users. From experience we know that this process is opaque and too long. One woman got a social house 17 years after her application ! It is a very frustrating process for the applicants, but also for Paris Habitat employees. That’s why we asked ourselves :

How might we bring transparency to this process, so that applicants can understand and follow their application ?

Solution


The data of Paris Habitat provides information on the social housing market in Paris in realtime. So we are able to display an indicative waiting time for a given request of social house.

The benefits for the applicant are :

  • instant estimation of waiting time
  • recommendation of similar request with less waiting time
  • free and anonymous

The benefits for Paris Habitat are :

  • call center less overwhelmed
  • positive impact on the company image
  • better turnover of the social housing stock
  • no integration needed with governmental websites

Approach


01. A morning workshop to find our teammates

Participants of the competition attended a mandatory workshop morning to kickoff the event. We were three groups of twenty people from various background. A professional UX Designer led the workshop. Although I found it frustrating to postpone the start the « actual » work, this workshop turned out to be a very good starting point. We brainstormed the stakeholder map, an did some focus group interviews. After that, we made the teams. Myself and two other participants wanted to work on the process of social housing application.

Paris Habitat social housing application tool
1/3 social housing offers were refused in 2017 : among them 31 % due to the lack of answer from the applicant, 9 % due to a too high rent, 8 % due to a wrong housing typology and 5 % due to neighborhood issues.

02. Informal discussion and experience sharing

We had the opportunity to ask a few questions to the Paris Habitat Director and to the IT Manager. Thanks to their feedback, we understood that the social housing application is not a unified process across landlords in Paris. There is a unique entry point online, and a unique list of applicants for all social landlords. But the decision of attribution depends on the social landlord and seems to be secret.

We also discovered that Paris Habitat’s call center is overwhelmed by applicants looking for updates on their situation.

03. Journey mapping of an extreme user

As an extreme case, we took a user experiencing family changes over the years. We showcased how Paris Habitat could be an helpful companion in this person’s life.

We drafted a journey map of an extreme user, at the scale of a lifetime.

Paris Habitat social housing application tool
Paris Habitat social housing application tool

After a lot of simplifications and feedback gathering, we ended up with this journey, voluntarily minimalist for the sake of our 7min pitch in front of the jury.

04. Night prototyping

We spend the night prototyping a few screens and tested them with some participants. Participants were enthusiasts, which was motivating for us. I designed an interactive prototype, and my co-worker a functional prototype. In one night we managed to get two complementary prototypes.

Again, a quick sketch to agree on a basic flow between the screens.

Paris Habitat social housing application tool
Paris Habitat social housing application tool

A landing page to explain with simple words the purpose of the tool, sorry it’s in French !

We called it Locaboost.

Prototype Screens


Paris Habitat social housing application tool

Screen 1 – Applicant Situation

The user is asked to give informations about his household : revenu, composition, type of request.

Paris Habitat social housing application tool

Screen 2 : Request Parameters

The user can select the type of house he wishes, the location and other parameters.

Paris Habitat social housing application tool

Screen 3 : Estimation

Given the input, the tool is able to display immediately an estimation of the waiting time. Recommendations are made for similar combinations of parameters that lead to a diminished waiting time estimation.

Paris Habitat social housing application tool

Accomplishments & Learnings


We received the third prize, over 13 projects. We also received a « Coup de Coeur » special prize from a member of the jury. We received positive critics, and were the only group presenting a prototype.

I discovered that UX methods worked well under the pressure of short deadlines. Our process allowed us to dedicate time to prototyping, unlike other teams.
 
One mistake we made was that we were too confident about our project and didn’t noticed the others focused first on Paris Habitat pain points. Being third despite that is a success for us three !
 
We keep good memories of this event and I will surely try again this type of challenge !