Vida Homeloans

The journey to becoming the challenger lender of choice in the UK mortgage market

Vida is a new challenger mortgage lender, focusing on understanding market niches, designing well targeted products and clearly communicating the benefits of their proposition which will enable them to be a challenger within this market.

Vida selected Dock9 to develop their brand guidelines, design and build of their website and re-skin their broker portal platform. The project brief focused on delivering a demonstrably easier experience for the main user group, mortgage intermediaries, than competitor websites along with creating visuals that really bring the brand to life and tell the story of ‘Modern Mortgage Lending'.



Our mortgage sector experience on projects (including Kensington Mortgages, Acenden, Private Finance and New Street Mortgages) had given our team good grounding in mortgage professionals need from a website. The main challenge for this project was to communicate the proposition to enable Vida to be the challenger within this market along with creating branding that will stand out from the crowd. We followed our user-centred design approach to get the perfect balance between user’s needs along with the business goals to deliver an intuitive and memorable experience.

Fail early, fail fast, fail often

If you're not failing, you're not going to innovate. This whole project was based around being able to involve experienced mortgage professionals through research and user testing. At every stage of the design process we engaged with a number of intermediaries to validate the wireframes, designs & prototypes.

Wireframes and prototypes played a major role when planning the user journey; this allowed us to rapidly wireframe the structure of the site through to prototypes, which was all tested with intermediaries at various stages throughout the process. One of the biggest benefits of prototypes is that they provided an intuitive, quick and easy way to get our ideas in front of key client stakeholders and intermediaries.

Brand development

Taking the previously designed Vida logo, we were then given the opportunity to evolve the Vida brand into more than just a logo. This incorporates key brand elements such as typography, colour palettes, photography, iconography and importantly the do's and don'ts of the brand. Kicking off the project, we researched existing brand booklets on the market such as Skype, Heineken and more specific competitive brands. This is a fantastic way to see current branding trends, and how other brands attempt to tell their story. Haley, the creative lead here at Dock9, wanted something modern and impactful, with strong use of typography and photography to bring the brand alive. The booklet was sketched out, dividing the content into several key sections and finally, mocked up in Abode Indesign. We have received great feedback from Vida, and look forward to developing more books like this in the future.

One site, two user groups

Two very different groups of users are going to be accessing Vida; intermediaries to find products, complete research and to submit mortgage applications, along with mortgage applicants who are looking for reassurance that Vida are going to be able to deliver a mortgage that fits their needs. There is a lot of information and content which is user-group specific so clear signposting needed to be in place before a user got too deep navigating around the site - this was also very much welcomed by brokers when carrying out research.

Visualising target profiles

Across the three products; ‘Residential’, ‘Buy to Let’ and ‘Second Charge Loans’ there are a number of criteria that Vida are specialising in e.g. Low credit Score, Complex Income & Low Deposits. A challenge we had was to really bring this to life, rather than a long list of criteria - something that is going to answer any Intermediaries questions, and become memorable going forward.

We looked at a number of ways we could do this; the direction that was chosen was to create visual profiles for each of these criterias - images that will become memorable for returning intermediaries along with descriptions and key selling points to easily provide the information needed when an intermediary is completing their customer research. 

Anticipating questions

As a new entry into the mortgage lending sector, Vida will be launching unknown to intermediaries and also customers. There will naturally be a number of questions that will need answering immediately before any applications are made. Below is an example of a number of questions that came up time and time again during research & testing:

  • Which products do Vida have to offer?
  • Is Vida right for my customer?
  • Does my customer fit Vida’s lending criteria?
  • How can I contact Vida/Business Development Manager?

We had to answer these potential questions as intuitively, quickly and informatively as possible. If an intermediary can’t find the information they need, they will move on to a different lender where they can. 

Sitefinity CMS

Giving business users within Vida full control of the website content in an easy to use interface, drag and drop interface, was a key requirement in the brief.

We delivered this by building the site on the Sitefinity Content Management System. In addition to market-leading content management, personalisation and marketing features Sitefinity’s extensibility also enabled our .NET developers to extend the core functionality to meet Vida’s specific project needs. 

Project feedback

Ian Giles Marketing, Head of Marketing, gave us the following feedback:

“We wanted to work with an agency that employed the latest technology and project management techniques to achieve not just a website, but our greatest business asset. We also needed to get to market quickly with a proposition that felt fresh and different to our competitors. In Dock9, we found a partner that was agile, responsive and that matched our culture well. Their design work was inspiring and their implementation work was transparent and reliable.”