Property Guru

Project 4 Retrospective: Providing research and design to further improve their website

Project Introduction and Brief:

The class would draw lots to see which project they would undertake and which team members they would be collaborating with on this project. I drew Property Guru along with Gavin Low and Elson Loh and the summary requirement of the client was to seek an agency to provide research and design to further improve their website. The criteria and deliverables of the project set out by the ‘client team ’ was as follows:

  • To Identify existing problems based on research and testing
  • Show how the solution solves the problems
  • Show how we have ideated and iterated our solution based on usability testing

We were to treat the presentation as a true to life Design Studio pitch scenario, so G.E.T UX Design was formed and the ‘company’ and team bios would be crafted along with a 6month timeline and fee proposal to accompany the presentation deck.

With groups assigned, client briefs and companies in review we were well and truly off to the racers and neck deep in…… content.

Research:

Our user interviews had to be conducted externally and while I could draw on personal experience and friends who have used or have experience using Property Guru to find rental properties, finding potential users looking to purchase a property would prove to be more challenging so we set out to screen and identify suitable participants for our study first as timing and scheduling was of the essence. Additionally to the potential rental or buyers using the site, the other key component and user of the site are the agents themselves and so we set out to arrange interviews with them too to gain a holistic overview from all acting parties.

With interviews pending, we started to conduct the analysis of the existing website as well as their mobile applications. The enormous amount of content that Property Guru provides soon became clear as well as the understanding of why the client would require assistance in refining their users journey and content organisation reviewed.

A thorough Content and inventory Audit of the website was conducted in order to further understand the hierarchal nature of the site and the information architecture. If the content audit of Project 3 was a 3 on the Schmidt scale then the pain index was about to go up a notch to Bullet Ant territory delving into the warren that is Property Guru content structure……… That being said, from the initial glance the Property Guru site seemed to be relatively decent, with an enormous amount of content but not without it’s problems which we sought to identify through the following research steps and ideate solutions based on our findings.

While breaking down the site a Heuristic evaluation was simultaneously conducted and brought to light many qualitative usability heuristics based on the Jacob Nielsen method and were rated for their severity.

Examples of Heuristic evaluation of PropertyGuru site

The Current Information Architecture was mapped out to further aid this process and to to set up the revised user flows once the research and findings had been concluded.

We sought to understand our client better by analysing the business goals and market standing. Conducting the competitor and business analysis was relevant in determining competition and identifying where Property Guru could be lacking or improvements could be made by comparison. Our findings in the analysis would be later validated through our user interviews.

Simplified comparison and traffic source analysis charts

Slightly behind in our program we were finally in a position to conduct interviews and card sorting during the latter half of the first week. These were primarily conducted as a group with some additional interviews scheduled independently to maximise our efforts and reach. I feel the crucial takeaway for me was the fact that we screened and managed to source suitable participants that covered the three areas of the rental, buyer and agent perspectives and it was because of the holistic data and insights acquired that we would be able to later craft our three personas from the synthesised data.

User research and interviews with potential buyers, agents and rental participants

Our questioning was directed and adapted in three ways to extract details pertaining to our three user scenarios but all with similar objectives in mind:

  1. Find out what tool / method and platform they use to search for properties?
  2. What criteria did you have when searching for a property and how easily did they find using these features?
  3. Were/are you the only one who is actively searching and how our the listing shared, scheduled, tracked?
  4. Gain an understanding of where property search experience was bad or whether it was good and why?
  5. How was the communication with the agent of the interested properties and how do/did you find the property viewing process?
  6. Do/did the properties live up to your expectations based on the information that was presented on the website?
  7. What was your experience getting to the viewings and How was the communication with the agent of the interested property?
  8. Why would/wouldn’t you recommend PropertyGuru. Can you rate your whole property search experience from 10? 10 being the best.

Synthesising the data:

We used affinity mapping process to synthesise the user data and draw on the similarities to discover the pain, pleasure, contextual and behavioural ‘I statements’.

“The search pages feel too aggressive with all the advertising and agent headshots — I’m there to look at properties!”

My key research takeaways and how this could be implemented into making the experience better for Property Guru’s users revolve around the agents having to providing clearer, concise listings accurately depicting the property so the user can make an educated decision on whether they would actually want to take their time out for a viewing.

It also came to light that agents can often duplicate listings, even though Property Guru try to prevent this, by altering the property details slightly. This increases the traffic to themselves and aids in the agent then converting more viewings and subsequently can offer the consumer more alternatives.

It is important to realise that even though the customer searching for a property is not a direct revenue stream for PropertyGuru, they should not be overlooked as a critical part of the business model. The three avenues which PropertyGuru makes their money are developers, ad spots and agent fees but by creating too much of a one sided user experience could result in those customers moving elsewhere for their property requirements which will inevitably result in the agents, developers and advertisements having to follow.

The revised Information Architecture implemented a streamlined flow for a users initial navigation

Personas:

Personas: Lawrence Lim (agent) and Marco Conte (rental)

Main persona: Emma Wu

Main persona: Emma Wu (Buyer)

Consumer Journey Mapping:

Persona Journey Mapping
  • Needs to find an ideal property for family but there is too much content to digest
  • Location, Price and amenities of properties are her priority and she tries to research accordingly but isn’t sure whether the property details are current and accurate
  • After short-listing a few properties of interest she discusses them with her family but struggles to show accurate comparisons and property overviews of her selection
  • Wants to view as many properties in shortest time but struggles to arrange, schedule and keep track of all her viewings
  • Now that she’s found her ideal property she struggles to navigate her way through the purchasing process
  • Once handover is complete she would love to credit the agents performance for his part in securing her ideal property

Features prioritisation matrix:

Having a greater understanding of the business goals as well as the users needs allows for us to create a features prioritisation matrix to help us strike a balance between needs of the user and stake holders and also outline the focus of features we need to look into redesigning based on the ease of implementation:

Feature Prioritisation Matrix

Our focus:

  • Refine the layout and filters process to enhance usability
  • Quality information and prioritising listing
  • Build mutual trust and relationship between 
     potential buyers / renters and their agents

Our Drive:

  • Increase/maintain the amount of users 
     searching for their properties
  • Increase/maintain the agent platform usage
  • Increase media buy ins
  • Support property developers by advertising new launches

Hi-Fi wireframes:

Our brief required for a responsive design prototype so starting with mobile first, the layout was ideated in sketch format before the mid fi was developed by Gavin using Axure. Given the time constraints development would go straight through to Hi Fi prototype while conducting usability tests. The prototype would be revised accordingly once any usability issues were deemed consistant enough for revision.

Overview of respnsive prototypes
Key pages for the desktop and mobile redesign

Prototype:

Demo of the redesigned Property Guru site: http://xykvw3.axshare.com/#g=1&p=home&c=1

Content Strategy statement:

To increase revenue, user generation and stay well ahead of our competitors, we will continue to provide the platform, content, support and resources that ensures our user feel confident that we are the only site to cater to their property sourcing and transactional needs.

Creating a content statement that sums up the business goals, content product as well as target audience and users is a challenging feat for Property Guru because of the interchanging relationship that the parties all play. In hindsight this statement is too long winded and should be more succinct, possibly written separately for all parties.

Writing copy is an art and something I should invest more time in.

Throughout our research and product development, we were able to gain a much greater insight into the relationship between and Property Guru and it’s various consumer parties and mapping out a business canvas map to further help and reinforce our understanding of the the various relationships that constantly converge between the stakeholders, infrastructure and the consumers requirements.

Business Model Canvas and Service Blueprint outling a buyer / agent search and purchase scenario

It’s with this understanding that a simplified service Blue print could be created. Given the looming deadline creating a more detailed mapping wasn’t possible but even with a simplified version, service enhancements that Property Guru could implement were evident and we set out to ideate possible partnerships that could benefit both the business and future customers. This was further validated by the users and agents originally interviewed responding quite positively to our proposals.

Final thoughts:

To finish off our pitch a separate fee proposal was handed to the clients outlining a six month sprint programme with scheduled milestones and itemised quotation breakdown for future feature implementation and roll out.

Our priority would shift to bettering the curation of images and designing around the trust issues to benefit the agent as well as the consumer experiences.

Big thanks and much respect to the team. I learnt so much from you both with particular pointers in presentation methods and their skills working through Axure and implementing quick fire updates following user testing was something to behold. It’s because of them that this project was not only incredibly interesting to work through but also highly enjoyable.

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