Estate Agency transactions are of high value. A missed opportunity to sign up a new client could end up costing you tens of thousands of pounds. UX can help real estate agents in preventing these missed opportunities.
As an Estate Agent, you may be great at prospecting. You might be brilliant at lead nurturing. You surely offer unbeatable service. But, how sure can you be that your website is playing its part in attracting new clients?
Are potential clients slipping through the net because your submission form doesn’t work well? Did your clunky, unattractive website drive people to your competitor? Do you force visitors to your website to register with you before they can explore your site?
In short, does your website offer a poor UX – User Experience?
What does UX stand for?
Before discussing how website UX helps Real Estate Agents to generate leads, let’s be clear about exactly what UX is. UX is an abbreviation of User Experience.
As a rapidly growing and evolving area, UX still has no commonly accepted definition. It’s a concept associated with web design and relates to how people experience and respond to website design. UX covers a multitude of dimensions and includes several diverse disciplines, including:
- Interaction Design
- Information Architecture
- Visual Design
- Human-computer Interaction
For your website to provide high-level UX for your website visitors, it needs to be:
- Useful – Your content needs to be original – not plagiarised – and satisfy a need (pain-point)
- Usable -Your website should be easy to use.
- Desirable – Your images, identity and brand message need to be warm, positive and engaging.
- Findable – Your content should be easy to navigate and locate.
- Accessible -Your website’s content must be easy to access for those with disabilities.
- Credible – Your website visitors must feel they can trust the information you give.
Why UX is so important – a case study
Expedia, the travel website, learned a painful lesson about the value of well-researched UX. In resolving their issue, they saved themselves millions in profits. And all it took was to delete one simple, rogue field on their website.
The culprit was the oft-seen optional field, ‘Company name’, which comes immediately after the individual’s name. The request for this information confused website visitors causing them to enter incorrect information in the fields that followed, causing them to ultimately pull out of the site altogether in frustration.
The moment Experian’s web designers removed the field, ‘duck-outs’ plummeted, and profits soared … by as much as $12 million!
What is User-Centred Design?
This is where every aspect of website design is synchronised with research into how users interact with computers (HCI- Human-Computer Interaction). User-Centred Design is all about applying the following core principles of UX to the planning and creating of a website. It
- Project Management
Planning and organising a project – setting up the project team and supporting them through the entire project.
- User Research
Observing and understanding user behaviour and needs.
- Usability Evaluation
A study of how well users learn how to use a website to achieve their goals. It’s also about how satisfied they are with the website.
- Information Architecture (IA)
How the website organises, structures, and presents information.
- User Interface Design
Anticipating what users might need to do and making sure that the relevant interfaces are easy to access and understand.
- Interaction Design (IxD)
This is about creating engaging, interactive systems with well-thought-out behaviours.
- Visual Design
This ensures an attractive interface that fits with brand goals.
- Content Strategy
This focuses on copywriting – creating and curating useful content through research and planning.
Making sure that disabled people have optimum access to and benefit from a website. Accessibility is now a legal requirement in the UK. Bear in mind, too, that poor accessibility will mean higher bounce rates, low page and session durations, all of which will almost certainly impact negatively on your SEO performance.
- Web Analytics
The collection, reporting, and analysis of website data.
Good UX converts website visitors to real estate agent leads
Offering your website visitors a positive UX is common sense. In fact, it’s more than that. It’s common etiquette. The UX you provide is no different from how you treat visitors to your physical Estate Agency. If Agent Extra didn’t apply UX to their methods for both generating leads for their clients, and marketing their own business, they wouldn’t be here today.
Think of the research, design, time, effort, and training you put into setting up your shop. Doubtless, you look at your competitors. You’ll think hard and consult on elements such as your shop front, the lighting, the property displays. You’ll train your staff on how to greet visitors – how to welcome them with a smile, a handshake, and the offer of a cup of tea and a biscuit. You’ll ensure that wheelchair users can easily enter your agency and move around it comfortably. You’ll make every effort to show an interest in your visitors and their needs – not just talk at them about what you offer. You’ll surely go out of your way to explain your processes clearly and concisely.
In short, you’ll do all you can to give the visitors to your Estate Agency an experience that’s both memorable and positive.
And that, nothing more, nor less, is what the UX – the User Experience – is all about.
Work with your web designer to create this engaging UX and you’ll be taking a giant step towards optimal client conversion.