How to create meaningful user experiences online and on mobile devices

Frederick Townes on 'sourcing as a service,' 'predictive search' and other emerging trends

Founding CTO of Mashable.com and serial entrepreneur Frederick Townes’ agency, W3 EDGE, was an early investor in Placester Inc.

Townes’ passion for product, Internet marketing and user experience drive innovation at Placester. Townes will be on stage at Real Estate Connect San Francisco to share how to create meaningful user experiences online and on mobile devices.

Placester co-founders Matthew Barba (left) and Frederick Townes.
Placester co-founders Matthew Barba (left) and Frederick Townes.

Townes and panelists Michele Serro and Amber Feng will share their deep product experience with you, to help you create user experiences that stand out from the crowd.

In our interview Townes discusses the emerging trends of “sourcing as a service” and predictive search as two key advances to keep an eye on in the coming months.

Inman: What’s the most disruptive force changing the economy and consumer behavior and why?

FT: The convergence of social, mobile, cloud and user-generated information.

Inman: Every day there are more services described as “Uber for X.” Do you think this trend will continue? If so, what’s next? If no, why not?

The average consumer visits 10-plus sites before engaging with an agent, broker or seller. This tells us that search (discovery) remains broken from a consumer's perspective."

FT: The notion of “sourcing as a service” as an on-demand product for consumers is definitely not going away. The same technology that provides intuitive and crisp user experiences is achieving economies of scale in industries that have desperately needed technological disruption on both the supply and demand sides.

Inman: What’s the one trend you’re keeping an eye on for 2015 and why?

FT: Predictive search experiences — Google has been leading this juggernaut for a decade, and now the consumer has begun to expect personalized experiences with content and service types.

Inman: What is the one thing real estate needs to do to innovate on the consumer experience?

FT: The average consumer visits 10-plus sites before engaging with an agent, broker or seller. This tells us that search (discovery) remains broken from a consumer’s perspective. The team that “cracks” search will be able to cultivate truly engaging consumer experiences on behalf of the agents who serve their local markets. Agents are the heart and soul of our industry — a great search experience is the vehicle that allows a digital experience to quickly translate into a offline connection between consumer and agent.

Inman: What’s the most important takeaway of your talk at Real Estate Connect?

FT: To inform their decisions, consumers expect to both be empowered by and use technology to obtain access to rich information. As real estate professionals, our No. 1 job is to do whatever we can to provide the most engaging experiences for consumers online and off. That is the shortest path to more transactions and ideally more referrals or repeat business.


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