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Better UX drives digital transformation in UK Housing Sector

Libbie Coulson, UX/UI Designer at Aareon discusses how better UX is driving digital transformation in the social housing sector

As we write another quick message on WhatsApp or tap a virtual button to pay for groceries on our phone, it’s easy to forget how far these technologies have come, even in the last decade. Not so long ago, most digital services, and particularly business management systems, were the preserve of technical specialists. In many instances, user interfaces were entirely character-based and needed a user manual or even extensive training to operate effectively.

Like many service industries, Housing Providers need to complete many complex processes while at the same time have staff dedicated to answering customers’ inbound calls. Increasingly, housing providers are   also offering customers the ability to self-serve using digital portals and apps. These scenarios require staff and residents to regularly make use of IT systems to enter or obtain information, and it is vital that they can do this quickly and easily.

Some organisations in the sector have a high staff turnover, which results in a constant challenge to keep re-training new people on IT systems and their effective use. Housing providers need their housing management systems (HMS) to manage a wide range of activities, from housing management and allocation through scheduling repairs, to rent collection. Traditionally these processes have been managed by complicated, often disparate, systems which were not intuitive or easy to use.

User Experience is key to digital transformation

Housing providers are waking up to the fact that they need their systems to be easier to use, more accessible and integrated across their whole organisation as well as adaptable to changing needs. Users expect their IT systems to work in a predictable and intuitive way, like the web apps we use every day on our smartphones. Anything that gets in the way of them completing tasks will cause frustration, inaccuracy and not least, inefficiency, and we all know time is money that could be spent on more vulnerable residents.

Some of the impetus for digital transformation in the sector has come from forward-thinking housing providers, which has inspired innovative suppliers are developing cloud-based, browser delivered systems with contemporary UX/UI. Key players also consider how to make software more intuitive to use, as well as creating modern-looking solutions...


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