Nurul Afiqah (HDB)
Systems Analyst (UX)
Housing and Development Board (HDB)
Joined in 2020
Homing in on Services Made Smarter & Simpler
Putting users first at HDB
Impressed and inspired by how the Housing & Development Board (HDB) goes about delivering on its promise to provide affordable housing to Singaporeans all these years, Afiqah didn’t hesitate to join the agency after graduating from university in 2020.
“I was an architecture student back in my polytechnic days and through my studies, I learnt about the challenges public housing face when it comes to planning spaces, homes and living environments,” she recounts.
“I believed these challenges could be overcome by leveraging technology and wanted to join HDB to apply my expertise and contribute to designing useful solutions for public housing.”
As an UX (user experience) engineer and tech lead in HDB’s User Experience Design (UXD) team, the 25-year-old today helps develop digital services that help users perform housing transactions with ease and make its digital applications to be intuitive and easy to navigate.
It’s all in a day’s work for her as she collaborates with project teams in design sprints, conduct UX research on HDB customers and review existing digital services and system designs to deliver the best experience for customers.
To her, the creation and enhancement of digital services and its design is important as it would impact both HDB staff as well as its customers; the former would benefit from streamlined work processes and this, in turn, would allow them to deliver services to customers more efficiently.
Afiqah says it is satisfying to see how the team has grown and brought into focus the importance of UX in the delivery process of HDB’s digital services. As the UXD team is very new to HDB, she says it can be challenging to get internal stakeholders to be familiar with UX and how it works. The team has been putting in the effort to share UX knowledge and resources with their colleagues though, and it can be “truly satisfying” when they apply UX research methods and development assets from the design system which her team created in their work subsequently.
Big Impact with Small Design Tweaks
Another memorable moment was when she witnessed customers’ frustration with an application’s usability during a live review session with a group of participants. Afiqah recalls how participants were frustrated as they couldn’t find what they needed and had to go through multiple steps just to complete a task.
After the session, her team went through multiple design sprints and many late nights to refine the app, and eventually developed a simpler, more elegant prototype within a month that was well received by participants in the second review session.
Ultimately, Afiqah hopes to use her understanding of automation tools and systems to provide innovative solutions to Singapore’s nation-building challenges.
“I believe that harnessing these tools can streamline our work processes and improve our efficiency, so that Singapore can develop useful applications faster,” she says.