A virtual touring experience for homebuyers during COVID-19.
Abhijeet Saxena Logo

Abhijeet Saxena



Indy Smart House


September 2020 - October 2020


1 Product Designer
1 Product Manager
1 Operations Manager

My Contribution

As a Product Designer, I contributed to market analysis, stakeholder interviews, and build the business model canvas. I led the visual designs and delivered a high-fidelity interactive prototype for user testing.


During the COVID-19 pandemic, residential new home builders are forced to rethink how to market and sell their properties to potential buyers effectively. In the pre-COVID era, prospective home buyers arranged an in-person visit to the property where the property dealer or their staff would accompany them. Therefore, Triplex serves as a service that can help small home builders provide their customers with a safe hybrid touring experience. Buyer's can also use our web application to browse properties, deals, products, and partners in the comfort of their home.

The Challenge

To design a systematic hybrid traditional-physical walkthrough process that is individually self-directed by the customer while exceeding the standards for COVID-19 hygiene and minimizing the lag-time between these individual customer visits.

Target Audience

To sell a house, builders have to show prospective buyers around the house and tell them about all the property features. Therefore we are designing a solution to help small builders with 1-10 properties.

COVID-19 has affected in-person tours with prospective buyers that has led to

  • Loss of business
  • Establishing trust with buyers

We decided to make a solution that can help builders ensure

  • Buyers can have a safe touring experience
  • Buyers can have the place to themselves to explore
  • Buyers attention is undivided


Design a hybrid touring experience

Most people are uncomfortable with social interactions during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, designing a solution that helps property builders provide potential home buyers with a safe and informative hybrid touring experience is required.

Cost-effective and Deployment Ready

From a business standpoint, builders need to adapt a reusable or replicable solution. Besides, the builders' profit margins are narrow, and therefore, it is crucial to building a cost-effective solution that doesn't require any technical expertise for installation or operation.


3 - Fold Approach

We created a 3-fold approach to provide prospective home buyers with a safe and engaging hybrid touring experience. The solution targets the Pre-tour, tour, and after tour experience for the buyers. The Marketing One Sheet below depicts the entire touring experience, the proposed revenue model, and the partner pricing system.

Web Application

A web application was also created to support the QR Code scan feature. The mobile UI also supports information about the different properties owned by the builder and list of partners who are offering any discounts.


The process followed for this project was different from the conventional UX design process. It started from researching the market and concluded with creating a Business Model Canvas.

Buyer's Journey
Business Model Canvas


Environmental Assessment

To get a better understanding of the problem space, we used the Environmental Assessment tool from Strategyzer. We conducted our research by looking into databases like IBIS, Statistica, Mintel, EBSCO, etc. to uncover the mentioned areas in the image below


We conducted an unstructured interview with the builder on one of his site. To understand the other side of the story we recruited 2 participants who recently bought a house or were planing to buy a new house soon and conducted semi-structured interviews with them.


  • What do your customers look in the house when they come for a tour?
  • What are their most voiced concerns?
  • What are fallbacks or failures in the smart home business?
  • What matters the most while buying a house?
  • What are the most important features?
  • How is your touring experience during COVID-19?

Research Insights

Willing to pay more

Millennial Buyers between the age of 22 and 39 looks for smart features in their homes. They are willing to pay approximately USD 1500 to USD 3000 or more to have smart features. Moreover, these buyers are also willing to pay more for private outdoor spaces.

Rapid Growth of Smart Homes Industry

The Smart Home industry is rapidly growing due to increasing business expansion and awareness among the customers. It is expected to reach USD 246.42 billion by 225 at a growth rate of 25%.

Impact of COVID -19

From the start of the pandemic, people have started working from their homes. Commute to work is no longer a necessity. Therefore, 66% of the remote employees would consider moving to a larger space where they can set up their office at a reasonable price.

Buyers Perspective

Buyers have to wait long periods to get a chance to visit a property they are interested in buying. Another essential aspect that most buyers consider before buying a property is the ability to customize the place.

narrowing the problems

  • Provide a self engaging tour
  • Capture buyer's attention
  • Attracting and finding the perfect buyer
  • Explaining buyers options for customization


Bill White, 64

Bill is a builder who owns 8 properties in the city of Indianapolis. Usually, he provides an in-person home tour to his buyers to make a sale.


•  Customers understand the concept of backyard customization
•  Provide virtual tours to his customers efficiently
•  Customer complete the virtual tour without much interruption
•  Should be able to answer questions in real-time


•  Need to provide a good virtual tour experience
•  Maintaining high levels of hygiene
•  Finding cost-effective & ready-to-be deploye options
•  Failing to provide an emotional impact during the tour

Concept Ideation

After our research, we understood the user problems and goals that helped us decide a direction for our ideation. As a team, we discussed various ideas and selected the top three ideas to understand which works the best with our client.

Idea 1

A comprehensive walkthrough of the property to guide the buyers to the backyard and helps them understand the available options for customization using smart technology.

Idea 2

A handcrafted map for the buyers to help them get an idea of the available facilities and utilities around the property they are planning to visit.

Idea 3

A hamper system to greet the buyers with some personalized merchandise consisting of a safety kit, a brochure with offers, and an RFID card for movement tracking inside the property.

Concept Down-Selection

We used the 10 Characteristics of Great Value Proposition to evaluate all our ideas. Our idea of a comprehensive walkthrough of the property using smart technology stood out the most but there were some features from the other two ideas that we considered for our final design.


Buyer's Journey



After understanding the buyer's journey I sketched out few screens that depicted the minimum viable product for the proposed solution.


Below is the interactive prototype of the web app designed for Indy smart house. The journey of the user starts with the product page and then they can move around to app to discover more features.

Business Model Canvas

Lessons Learned

This project proved to be an excellent means of learning business innovation using the Internet of Things. Unlike mainstream UX Design projects, this helped me understand the following things that we must keep in mind as a designer.

Understanding the Business Needs
Along with research understanding the client requirements is equally important. Our team was able to identify the pain points correctly, and while we were ideating the solution, we kept them in check.

Importance of Feedback and Iteration
We use to have a weekly meeting with our stakeholders to understand how we might want to iterate on the idea that we had for the week. These meetings were valuable because they helped us pull all the pieces together for our final solution before our final pitch.

Being realistic
While ideating, we stumbled upon ideas that had great features and were futuristic. Most of the ideas were enticing, but they were far from what our client was willing to implement. Therefore, I realized that our team has to stick to realistic solutions that are not too costly.

Client Pitch