I’ve had a few days to decompress from Real Estate Connect SF. After looking through my notebook, I’d like to share one of my favorite sessions.

Kevin Hoffman, user experience director at Happy Cog (@kevinmhoffman), spoke during "Designing Great Experiences," which was the first session in the Digital Marketing Workshop at Connect.

During the presentation, Hoffman showed screenshots of various websites from different industries. He showed some great examples of what works and what is confusing to the consumer. Happy Cog’s mantra is this: "Happy Cog delivers beautiful websites that never lose sight of the human being using them."

I love this. So many times in real estate we get caught up in terms and phrases that we know and understand but forget to take a step back to think of someone looking at the site for the first time.

One of the things I really enjoyed about Kevin’s presentation was that he is not in the real estate industry. He brought some really fresh insights on why websites fail or don’t convert like they should.

Hoffman suggests asking yourself several questions when you put your site together. He says, "Great user experiences are easy when you ask the right questions!"

The questions:

  • What can I do for you?
  • Who are you?
  • What does your audience want to do when they get to your site?
  • Is your site as easy as it should be?
  • Can I trust you?

Here are some great takeaways from his presentation:

  • You don’t need to put "click here" on a website — visitors know to click … they are ONLINE!
  • Is there consistency in your website (i.e., verbiage, fonts, style)?
  • Don’t use different words that mean the same to you but are confusing to a user (such as "log in," "sign up," "premium homes," or "fine homes"). This was my "a-ha" moment. How many times have you looked at a real estate site and have seen them use a variety of those terms? What is a fine home? A premium home? What is a map search vs. a home finder? Things that make total sense to us may not make sense to the average consumer.
  • If you have comments enabled in your site, make sure you have comments! Comments are social proof, which is one of the reasons Digg is so successful!
  • Your site should move someone from being a stranger to engaging in your business.

You can view Hoffman’s presentation slides here.

A video featuring his presentation, along with all conference videos, will be available soon to Inman News Premium Members.

Click here to view the original blog post. 

Katie Lance is the marketing manager for Inman News. Future of Real Estate  Marketing is a part of Inman News.


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