New Zealand’s property market is broken. Home ownership reached a record low of 64% in 2018, and unsurprisingly: we have one of the highest house-price to income ratios in the world.

Doorknock cofounders Tim and Luke experienced this frustration first-hand when they started house-hunting a couple of years ago. The lack of affordability was loud and clear, but other problems also came to light when they found themselves squeezing their way through the hallway of a packed open home. For those able to afford a house, there was too high demand and too little supply. Competition was fierce. Developers sat in the pockets of real estate agents and seemed to get first dibs. There was just no hope for young first-home buyers like themselves. They found themselves in a classic ‘there must be a better way’ moment. Which, as often occurs, birthed an idea.

I have a soft spot for projects that truly make a difference, so offered to bring Doorknock to life in exchange for some real-world work experience.


Business strategy
User Research
User Flows
Interactive Prototyping
User TestingH
igh-Fidelity Design
Design System Creation


Tim Hall - Cofounder
Luke Hodgekinson - Cofounder
Ram Manthry - Senior Developer
Tina Gao - Associate Developer


March - June 2022


I spoke with 4 real buyers, investors and homeowners in the team’s extended circles. These were people that hadn’t heard of the idea - friends and friends of friends who hadn’t previously been sounding boards for Tim or Luke and were therefore more objective.This was an extremely valuable step which revealed their current pain-points when it came to buying and selling, their initial impressions of the product, their immediate concerns or questions, and their desired functions. It refined our elevator pitch and revealed how we could improve upon the current MVP.

I identified Doorknock’s three main users: buyers, investors and homeowners. Personas, empathy maps, user stories and user journeys brought these groups to life. The work gave the team greater empathy for and clarity about their intended audience, triggered important conversations around what we were doing, why and who for.

Next, I undertook a mini competitive analysis. As you can imagine, current real estate websites do the job but often lack the personality and thinking that underpins those businesses that everybody knows and loves. We wanted to make Doorknock a household name, a badge of honour. So this analysis identified ways we could differentiate ourselves from the competition through imagery, colour, branding, function and style.

Doorknock’s previous logo was built in Canva and desperately needed a refresh. Using the information gathered during the research phase, I created a new type-logo that better conveyed Doorknock’s values and positioning in the market, and stood out from the crowd.

Using colour psychology and harmony, I identified a balanced colour palette that bravely distinguished the brand from others in the real estate market.

Typography choice was key. I identified a type that played well with the logo, was simple and easy to read, and further shaped Doorknock’s character.I presented the new brand identity to the team, using mockups of billboards and posters to illustrate the new look and feel.

Because Doorknock is a completely new concept, thinking through the information architecture of the website would prove crucial. “Keep it simple, stupid” was my mantra here. We already knew that we could differentiate ourselves from other property sites by following a minimalistic approach, which are often overwhelming and overstimulating. Identifying key user flows helped shape the sitemap. I endeavoured to keep the click count down in the name of simplicity. We also worked together to decide which features would be included in the first phase of the business and which would be added on later as it grew.

I then got to work ideating how each screen could look. I looked to other successful and beautifully-designed websites for inspiration, including those the team had identified as matching the look and feel they were going for.I quickly mocked up my ideas into basic sketches, to get my thoughts down on paper.

These sketches were then transformed into wireframes which I bounced off the team. Motivation levels were high as the product began to be pieced together!

I then created a low-fidelity clickable prototype using Invision. The prototype was split into user flows for greater clarity.

Testing the wireframes using interview guides proved invaluable. Using think-aloud, first-impression and single-task testing methods I was able to identify problem areas as well as receive feedback on the information architecture of the marketing pages. In general, the users flowed quite intuitively through the design and I was pleased with the result.

Next up was high fidelity design and showcasing to the team using the design system.

I designed mobile-first, for 3 screen sizes. Mobile-first design helped me keep things simple and define what features and functions are actually valuable for the user. Doorknock wanted to differentiate themselves from others in real estate by presenting a modern, appy look and feel. The design was based upon an interactive map which allowed users the flexibility to move, search and select in their own unique way. I selected a map skin from SnazzyMaps that I felt fit the Doorknock brand and, importantly, paired well with Doorknock’s colour palette.