Like many industries, the amount of information available to home shoppers online has significantly shifted the onus from the agent to the buyer when they are searching for a home. Having this kind of access gives the upper hand to buyers looking for the deep market data they need for assessments and negotiations. But it can also be an overwhelming undertaking: not only do you have access to all sorts of historical information for these homes and cities, but theses resources are also available to you via multiple companies, websites and apps.
Today, the choice is with the user on which app best works for them - and the importance of the real estate app’s user experience couldn’t be stressed enough. One of the key players is rapidly growing real estate app, Movoto, which displays for-sale listings from 100 multiple listing services (MLS) and has helped over 2,000 people find homes, and we wanted to learn more about their app strategy and approach to UX. We had the opportunity to speak with Jason Sutherland, UI / UX Designer for Movoto, on his thoughts for Movoto’s user experiences in the year ahead - and here’s what he had to say:1. What role will mobile play in your expansion in 2015?
Due to the local nature of real estate, mobile plays a critical role in our future growth and is already more than 50% of our traffic. As “phablets” become the norm it is essential that Movoto is with homebuyers every step of the way during their home buying journey. In 2015 Movoto will elegantly enhance our mobile presence by presenting more concise, relevant and valuable data that home buyers use to make smart decisions.
2.What do users love about your app? What sort of feedback have you gotten?
Feedback from our users typically revolves around “it’s so easy and clean”. At Movoto our goal is to get home buyers into a new home as easily and quick as possible so our Apps need to resonate a simple clarity that people can easily navigate and explore new home buying opportunities.
3. How do you design your user experience for the new locations you’re moving into?
Direct user feedback. We ended 2014 with a multi-city national trip designated for in-person user testing of both agents and home buyers. Movoto is a national real estate broker representing 48 states and while each market has its own “patterns”, we do our best to extract and solve for the most common user pain points.4. What role has demographic targeting played in the past for you?
Everything. Homebuyers range greatly in demographic profiles and Movoto has taken great depth in defining a target audience. On the agent side, our agents are highly vetted and that in itself becomes a very exclusive demographic which gives us precise measure on what we are to deliver in helping our partner agents succeed.
6.What was surprising to you - if anything - about how your mobile users differed from your online / offline customers?
What became interesting was realizing how much research people want to do on their own. When I bought my first house 15 years ago, I wanted as much help as possible. Today that is not the case. Home buyers want to make smarter decisions through access to relevant data and then employ help to finalize the process.6. Do you look to mobile to drive more revenue for you this year? Or is mobile considered more of an engagement tool?
This year mobile will be essential to our growth plan. Movoto Mobile App users show the highest level of conversion when comparing any of our other product family.7. What’s your measurement of success with your mobile initiatives?
User adoption and preference – if we lined up the Movoto App against three of our main competitors and users picked the Movoto App 3 out of 4 times, we consider that success.8. What rising trend in apps do you see driving significant change in the industry? Which trend do you see not living up to it’s hype? (For example, we can imagine things like using social as a buying platform or trying out omnichannel targeting)
Check-ins seem to be the most oddly hyped app feature, it creates more work for the user. However, there is a twist to location based content and / or notifications that I know are significantly driving engagement and providing value to the user. After F8 2015 I am drooling at the endless possibilities that Messenger Developer Platform represents.9. Where do beacons fit into your strategy (if any)?
Ironically, there have been several discussions about how Movoto can leverage or take advantage of beacons and / or NFC stickers. How cool would it be if you were to walk out of an Open House and be prompted with a list of features that you liked or disliked!?10. What’s one new technology you’re thinking of experimenting with this year? (New Point of sale devices? Payment-enabled apps? Wearable apps? 3D printed products?) etc.
Virtual Reality (VR). The DIY VR movement has really opened up an opportunity for everyone to easily take advantage of an immersive experience. Can’t make it across the country or world to experience an Open House? Throw on the courtesy VR Goggles and let an agent walk you through!
About Jason Sutherland:
Jason attended Collins College where he studied Graphic Design and minored in 3D Animation. He received his B.A. in Visual Communications with an emphasis in Multi-Media and became certified as an SGI Level 2 3D Animator. At Movoto, he works to optimize workflow and UI elements for maximum engagement throughout all of their products. You can see more of his work at http://www.introgression.com
Movoto wants to make real estate transactions easy for everyone. We're a licensed brokerage in over 45 states and we've made it our business to bring together everything you need when you're buying or selling a house. Since 2005, our colorful photo galleries, accurate listing information and top rated agents have helped people purchase real estate. Our door is always open - come on in.
You can get the Movoto app here in the Apple iTunes store or on Google Play.