We covered the value of creating a great user experience in a previous blog post. While we covered seven of the most important aspects of user experience briefly, for real estate websites the most important aspect of creating an unmatched user experience is possibly the property search.
For real estate websites interaction and accessibility remain key considerations where search is a crucial point of interaction. The goal, as always, remains making it easier and quicker to find the relevant content for visitors. The more intuitive yet simple a search the better the overall user experience.
For visitors to a website the following features have proven to be critical in offering an advanced yet complete property search.
Predictive Keyword Search:
By predicting a search and showing you matching results before words are typed, a predictive search can save searches time while also helping them to avoid common typing errors.
Should a searcher not know specific suburbs in an area, predictive searches can help them quickly identify an area and its related suburbs. If they are already familiar with a particular area, they can quickly refine the search to the suburbs of their choosing.
Start typing and matching areas and suburbs are displayed. This helps a searcher instantly identify if the agency in question has active listings in the areas of interest.
Refining an area Search:
Perhaps the visitor knows the areas and suburbs where they would most like to reside, but have specific requirements. A search should be able to be further refined to match these requirements. Additional options may be:
Neighbouring Suburbs: Perhaps the searcher knows of a particular area or suburb but isn’t particularly familiar with the area in general, by highlighting neighbouring suburbs you’re able to promote listings that may have otherwise been overlooked, yet still meet the required criteria.
Property Type: Do visitors require a house with a garden or are they looking for the convenience of a lock up and go home such as an apartment?
Price Range: Are visitors looking to buy a home within a particular price range?
Bedrooms: Often families looking buy a home are moving for a reason, perhaps the family has increased in size as a family grows, perhaps they may be down-sizing. The number of bedrooms is often a crucial consideration before even viewing a listing. By refining a search to those listings that have the sufficient space, searches are able to find listings that match their needs that much quicker.
On Show: Are visitors looking to view properties this weekend? If so, by searching for property on show, they can easily identify listings of interest that they would be able to view over this time.
Informative Listings: Perhaps a visitor is interested to know more about a specific listing without having to contact an agent directly. Searching for listings with images, multimedia options or those that are mapped will very quickly help identify if that property has the look and feel that they desire.
All of these options allow a visitor to your real estate website find exactly what they are looking for that much quicker. The quicker a visitor can find what they are looking for the happier they are and become more confident that the agent in question can help them find the property they are looking for, be it a dream home or perfect office.
Prop Data has recently launched our own updated and far more advanced property search facility. Designed and developed for ease of use, yet improved functionality, this search function appears to have improved the overall user experience with the general trend being a decline in bounce rate recorded and increase in pages viewed. The advanced search function should over time help increase the number of leads generated through our websites with visitors being able to meet their needs quickly and easily on each visit.