There are so many things that go into making your online real estate, your website either GREAT or NOT SO GREAT. We can talk about structure, content, accessibility, and a lot of things, but few things will affect the actual success of your site as much as UX or user experience.
Let’s take a Real Estate Website and break it down into how the user actually is able to navigate it and get to what they want. I have a 5 step process for testing user experience.
Step 1: Ask what the user is coming to the site to do. Often times REALTORS will give me the wrong answer. The vast majority of people are coming to your site for ONE THING ONLY. Homes for sale. They want to look at them. They do not want to read text and they do not want (in most cases) to look at the Realtor.
Step 2: Can they find EXACTLY what they want? When I first started working with a real estate site up in Fort McMurray Alberta Canada, and I looked at the main page that they were sending traffic to (here is the link to their main Fort McMurray real estate page that they send traffic to) , I could instantly see a problem. The part of the page that is circled was NOT there. So when a person arrived on the pages, there was no EASY way to get to EXACTLY the price of homes that they wanted.
By adding 9 pages and the navigation to support them by hand, users can easily get to exactly what they want.
Step 3: Landing Proximity Is the landing page (or the page that they are LIKELY to land on via Google) within one click of exactly what they want to find?
Step 4: Are images labelled and tagged so that they can be understood by those with visual impairments? Can people with disabiities navigate the site easily and efficiently?
Step 5: Is there adequate navigation to get you to other options if you find yourself in the WRONG place. So on this page you could go to the Quick Search or other links and quickly and easily find your way to what you want.
Final note: To test this accurately you must do it:
- on a desktop
- on mobile devices
- on multiple browsers
Failure on any of the 3 above areas means that there is more work to be done! 🙂