App: Pakistan's Biggest Property Portal's Redesign

Hamayun Zafar

Product Designer
Adobe Suite
Adobe XD

Reimagining Pakistan’s Biggest Property Portal

In two years, I led a comprehensive app redesign for a property portal, introducing a new design system and valuable features for customers seeking real estate opportunities. This initiative successfully achieved product KPIs and consequently business goals.

The goal was to revamp an old well known institution's digital footprint while meeting KPI goals and creating value for consumers.

Background & Context: State of Real Estate in Pakistan

In 2019, Pakistan had an estimated population of 223.3 million. The urban population of Pakistan grows at a rate of 3% per year on average as of last year, this directly creates an ever increasing need of housing specially in bigger cities like Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi among others. All these factors lead to a large portion of the population wanting accessible real estate information.

State of the real estate industry and smartphone accessibility in 2019

Our Starting Point for the App

Zameen introduced their app in 2014. However, my journey started with the platform in 2019. This was also around the time steps were being taken to grow and develop their digital platforms as a company focus. Even though the app was up and running, we identified many areas that needed improvement.

The app, although functional, had numerous usability issues and a UI that was inadequate for the use case at hand

We Identified Categories of Problems in the Original State of the App in 2019

A quick glance at the state of the app in 2019 glaringly makes some of the areas of improvements. We quickly drafted buckets of problems and some of the vast categories most of the issues identified fell in.

We identified more areas of improvements as the development of the app was carried out, but this list served as a solid starting point.

Issues could be categorized into User Experience & Interface Issues, Content & Personalization Challenges and Data Interaction Deficiencies

Collecting Insights, Ideas and Setting Goals

Our first steps encompassed identifying gaps in the existing user experience. Our methodology for achieving this included leveraging an abundance of digital analytics gathered through Google Analytics integration, gathering insights through internal and external surveys and usability tests.

We Defined our User Personas

We compiled in-depth user research by merging our insights from real-time data, GA (Google Analytics) insights and passive data collected through surveys. 

User Profiles: Diverse Real Estate Interests and Challenges by the Pakistani Populace

We Formed a Pipeline for Collecting Ideas for Improvements

Idea generation followed a progressive process, the team ran various facets of the platform through this pipeline. All shortlisted ideas went through a final filtering process of cross-referencing them with our business objectives.

Our pipeline to generate ideas for the app accounted for various factors, catered to by various mechanisms

We Finalized Buckets of Improvements and the KPIs They Would Achieve

Before we got to work on preparing a prioritized timeline and backlog of features and improvements, we prepared a list of KPI buckets and their subsequent target KPIs. All the future improvements made were to target one or multiple of these KPIs.

Key Performance Indicators: Strategically Mapping our Digital Product Growth

Our Internal Storytelling Metaphors for The Improvement Cycles

I'd love to take some time to describe the storytelling allegory I devised to garner a sense of unified vision internally for the product, specifically for the design team. I themed our product journey to that of a cosmic journey of an adrift species that finds the solar system.

  1. Pluto: Our App in 2019 We imagined ourselves as adrift cosmic travelers that find an uninhabited solar system, landing on Pluto, the last cosmic body on the precipice of our solar system, where we lay our first settlements. It sustained us initially but soon we found ourselves in need of further exploration and growth.
  2. Earth: First Improvement Cycle We found the only planet inhabited by life in the goldilocks' zone and named it Earth. Earth allowed us to grow and innovate beyond anything we had ever imagined and we evolved far beyond our initial state.
  3. Saturn: Second Improvement Cycle With sustenance not a problem for a once adrift people, plans were put in place to encourage exploration and discovery. Fueled by a need for innovation and growth, we set our sights for Saturn, the jewel of the solar system!

From Pluto to Saturn: A Cosmic Evolution of Our Product Journey

First Improvement Cycle

Brand New Home Page and the Breakdown of New Additions

The initial significant enhancement in the app during this improvement phase was the introduction of a revamped home page. This new home page kickstarted tackling many of the concerns pinpointed in the app's original version.

New Search Module

The search module of the Earth release made the experience better contextualized and streamlined for the purpose of finding real estate. Helping the users with pre-defining the intent, automatic city selection and direct access to selection of specific areas.

New Search Module: Three Key Enhancements for Seamless User Experience

Browse Properties by Categories Made Property Exploration Easy

The "Browse by Categories" on streamlined user searches. Catering to frequent user queries, it neatly categorized properties as 'Homes', 'Plots', and 'Commercial'. Additionally, listings were segmented by size and pricing for effortless navigation. Post-segmentation, a grid at the bottom showcased popular options within those defined categories for users' convenience.

Browse by Categories :A Triple-tiered Approach - Prioritizing Property Types, Detailed Attributes, and Showcasing Top Picks

Making Investment Opportunities Accessible

By introducing a dedicated module, we ensured users had immediate access to the latest and most promising real estate ventures. This addition underscored our dedication to ensuring that users have a comprehensive view of the real estate landscape, facilitating informed investment decisions.

Highlighting 'New Projects': A user-centric module, unveiling the freshest investment avenues in the real estate domain

Quick Access to the Newsfeed and Content

The "News/Blog & Videos" section on provided users with streamlined access to the latest in real estate and related news. This dedicated module housed news articles, insightful blogs, and videos, reinforcing the platform's dedication to informing and engaging its audience.

Stay updated on-the-go!'s Newsfeed ensured you never missed out on vital real estate news and trending videos

We Saw Encouraging Growth Across a Variety of KPIs

The metrics and performance for's "Earth Release" showcased significant growth in user engagement and lead generation.

Earth Release Metrics: Demonstrating's accelerated user engagement and robust lead generation trends

Second Improvement Cycle

Data-Driven Revised User Flows and User Management

Leveraging data-driven insights, we overhauled the user experience by introducing innovative navigation paths, allowing users more intuitive access to their desired destinations.

Intuitive Homepage Navigation and Revamped User Flows: Seamlessly exploring personalized features, new sections, and a comprehensive suite of tools designed to enhance the property search and discovery experience

Visual Improvements to the Home Page and Zameen Tools Addition

In the second improvement cycle, we enhanced the homepage's visual appeal with a refined layout and crisper graphics, ensuring an inviting user experience. Additionally, we introduced a 'Zameen Tools' module, providing users with swift navigation to our suite of convenient and user-friendly real-estate tools. unveiled a sleek, user-friendly interface with Zameen Tools, enhancing navigation with a modernized design for an intuitive real estate search experience

New User Friendly and Efficient Ways to Explore Listings

Informed by active and passive user insights, we added a few intuitive and efficient ways to sift through thousands' of listings that allow users to quickly and accurately look for properties exactly suited to their requirements.

Refined Map Search Capabilities

We introduced a sophisticated search mechanism within our map interface, designed to streamline the property selection process.

Refining Property Search: Our interactive map radius tool simplified locating your ideal real estate by customizing the search area

Search for Properties by Excluding Areas

We introduced the 'Exclude Locations' feature, enabling users to selectively remove unwanted areas from their search, thereby refining the results to better match their specific needs. rolled out the 'Exclude Locations' feature, allowing users to tailor their property search by omitting specific areas to better align with their real estate preferences

Zameen Stories: Short Form Real Estate Listing Content

We developed Zameen Stories as an innovative solution to enhance our users' experience by presenting real estate listings in an engaging, story-format content.

We innovated Zameen's property browsing by introducing story-based listings and seamless WhatsApp connectivity for an effortless user journey and effective lead conversion

We Built and Innovated On Success of Earth with Our Saturn Release

Building upon Zameen's Earth release, we innovated further with the Saturn Release, which led to a marked enhancement in user engagement metrics on Post-implementation, we noted an upswing in user numbers, session counts, and screen views, as well as an extension in the average duration of sessions.

Following our Saturn Release at Zameen, we achieved a surge in user engagement, including increased users, session times, and a significant rise in lead generation through both calls and WhatsApp

In Conclusion

From 2019 to 2022, we led a critical transformation of's app to meet the growing housing needs of Pakistan's urban population, focusing on enhanced features and a modern design. The 'Earth Release' introduced a revamped home page and better search functions, increasing user engagement and leads. Capitalizing on this, the 'Saturn Release' brought further refinements in navigation and the innovative 'Zameen Stories' for effective property listing communication, culminating in a successful digital evolution of the platform.

This project is special to my heart for a few reasons. I got to work on a project that, at the time, was larger than life for a product designer just starting out in his career. I got to experiment, learn, fail and eventually grow with a brilliant team. I helped grow the product, but I am of firm belief this product guided my growth far more.

A glimpse into my life at DubizzleLabs Lahore Office (formerly EMPG Labs)

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