Create a concept design for the Zillow app, focused on a feature that increases user retention, engagement, and distinguishes them in the real estate app marketplace.
We designed a "search home by monthly price" feature, opening up the real estate market to a new user pool, renters. We also re-designed the app to feel more humanistic, intuitive, and trustworthy, in order to make the home buying experience less intimidating for new home buyers.
- Low Fi Wireframes
- Hi Fi Wireframes
- User Testing
First, I researched Zillow's app and website features and compared them with direct and in-direct competitors. Redfin, a disruptor to the real estate industry, is Zillow's main competitor. Why? Well, Redfin offers an "end to end" experience; users are able to buy a home and find an agent who will assist them in a quick sell within a few clicks the Redfin app or website. Redfin is gaining popularity in high momentum by users.
I surveyed and interviewed around 50 people who have had interest in buying a home or is a current home owner.
I then took all of our survey and interview answers and entered them into word clouds to see what common themes would emerge.
These were features the users were most interested in. We then discovered the features that users were most interested in, monthly mortgage price and calculator, were either too difficult to find or took many steps to access.
When I asked "What do you feel is missing from current real estate apps?" in the survey, I found out that education, ease, and trust are humanistic qualities that the apps often fail to offer. We also noticed that once again, users were highly interested in the monthly price.
RESEARCH TAKE AWAYS
As a team, we decided to test the idea that a "search by monthly price" feature could entice renters and first time home buyers into taking the first step to buy a home in a way that fits the renter's mental model. This feature could gain Zillow a new user pool, as well as increase engagement with current Zillow users. We also would incorporate humanistic qualities into the re-design such as ease, trust, education, and simplicity to help lessen the intimidation of buying a home.
Jeremy comes from a family that migrated from Greece, they've never owned a home in the states and Jeremy has big dreams of being the first one in his family to own property. Jeremy and his wife have been saving for over 10 years in order to be the first home owner in his family. They want to start their own family in a dream home, as well as move his parents in with him. When Jeremy looks up homes online, he feels a little overwhelmed by the real estate jargon. He knows how much is in his savings and how much he currently spends on rent, but is not sure what kind of home he can afford. He hears that the Zillow app could assist him from a friend that just found a home he can afford within the Zillow app.
LOW FI WIREFRAMES
hi fi wirerames
Comparing Zillow's current app(left) with our new app(right)
We were able to test our prototype and iterated based on feedback.
Some positive takeaways were:
- The new feature alert on the homepage was noticed right away and was paid attention to instead of having banner blindness like some prior alerts we created
- The search button was easy to find in their new placements
- The hamburger menu was clear as to what might be displayed in that section
- Users who have never bought a home could understand the meanings of real estate jargon with our quick definitions
- Renters were more engaged and interested in buying and searching for a home
- First time buyers felt more comfortable taking the next step within the Zillow app by contacting an agent or lender after they found a home they thought they could afford
Create trust in the end to end experience.
People often assumed that when clicking "contact agent," they would be re-directed to the listing agent. Instead, Zillow direct users to agents who have purchased advertising space. Test results showed that users lost trust with Zillow during this task.
Interviews with renters informed us that trust and transparency would entice them to follow through with contacting an agent or sign up for credit pre-approval through Zillow.