Whether you’re building a real estate app or the latest tool using artificial intelligence, the user experience (UX) should be at the top of your thoughts.
That’s why knowing your audience is always key: your approach should differ depending on whether your primary users will be real estate agents or consumers, said Scott Petronis, the chief product and technology officer at eXp Realty on Monday, during a panel session at the Inman Connect New York 2019 real estate conference.
“How you go through that process determines the value you can bring to your audience,” Petronis explained.
A product that has consumers — whether they be homebuyers, sellers or renters – as its primary target audience should be as simple as possible in its user experience. Steer clear of industry-specific language, jargon and too much information in the app.
Apps aimed at agents, meanwhile, should be developed with the goal of bringing in clicks and, ultimately, sales. The ultimate goal is to help agents do their jobs.
Sean Thomas, who designed ShowMeNow, an on-demand home showing app that was sold to eXp Realty last year, said the modern consumer now expects instant gratification. If someone is looking for a house, they expect that the app will show one to them right away.
As a result, any app you build for consumers needs to have the homebuyer’s sense of urgency in mind — it should be easy to use, helpful and responsive.
“If you have to wait four days for the agent to tell you ‘I’m only available on Saturday’ and the house is on the market on Tuesday, you might miss out,” Thomas told Inman prior to the presentation. “[…] If your product looks like something from the ’90s, nobody is going to want to use it.”
As a result, agents should consider who their audience is and go from there — imagine themselves in the shoes of the buyer or the agent and then start designing the product.
“We all try on a lot of personas,” said Katie Ragusa, vice president of product at Tribus, at the conference’s Hacker Connect.
The idea, then, is to be as confident in your product as possible. Develop an idea with the audience in mind and then start building.
“We often need to take the brute force approach,” Petronis said.
But according to Thomas, some product developers can make the mistake of waiting too long to gauge response. Instead, those who have an idea for a product should go straight to their user base and just ask them what they’d most like to see.
“Go back to the agents, go back to the user base and then show them the actual product,” he said.