Portfolio Noortje Smink '18
funda real estate – iOS and Android
Whether you're looking to buy a new house, sell your house or just casually click through your neighbor's home: the funda app and website are your go-to platforms in the Netherlands. For a country with a population of 16 million humans, it's safe to say it is an awesome feeling to have 10 million users per month in our funda user experience <3
When I joined funda in April 2016, we just started building a new app from scratch. Code-wise the current app needed a major upgrade, and also the UX was outdated and not in line with the website redesign. Starting over with a brand new app allowed us to develop a future-proof experience without having to impact the large user base still enjoying our current app. For me, this allowed for time to research how to improve the core functionalities. The market had changed dramatically by this point, triggering a completely different way of searching for a house.
The year before, funda had set off on a full redesign with a lot more visual focus, to decrease the time someone has to spend on figuring out if this house is interesting. Specifications of a house are only worth analyzing if the house itself appeals to you. At the same time, large visuals trigger an emotional response to a house way quicker than information does: you get a first impression of a house and form your opinion instantly.
To discover where we could make a real difference for our user base, we did a lot of research – Diary Studies, in-depth interviews, usability tests, desk research – to create the customer journey of our persona's.
Having the journey as a solid foundation of our UX decisions, we noticed there was one big gap in the journey after we had helped people find their dream home: the viewing of the house. To gain more insights in this stage of the journey, we did further research: desk research (including analyzing user feedback of the last year, Google Play Store reviews, App Store reviews), held two focus groups with five participants each and did field research during actual viewings. Some of the results from this research:
minutes is the average time
of a viewing
house viewings are more and more often done with a few other potential buyers
opportunity to view before having to make the final decision
all participants said they have a fixed set of questions during a viewing, which they extend with house-specific questions
One of the major findings in our focus groups was that all participants, regardless of experience level in buying a house, made a checklist beforehand. The main goal here is to make sure they wouldn't forget to ask the realtor something important, or check if that crack in the wall they noticed in the picture is a big deal or not. To cater for this behavior, I designed a new feature in the apps to allow users to make a checklist per house in the app – so they could prepare for the viewing:
We prototyped this concept in Swift for iOS and validated it using a usability test with 5 participants. Although this is a feature that hasn't been in the funda experience until now, people adopted it thinking it has always been there. Gotta love people <3 We did get a few interesting insights in how people like to enter lists, so we tweaked the interactions on the lists to match. We currently rolling out this feature, starting with notes and pro's and con's:
One of the major things I changed to help people find interesting houses, is the filter screen where they set their preferences. After analyzing how people used the current filters, it quickly become obvious that people 'play' with their preferences to see how adding/removing filters would impact their amount of results
To match the playfulness of the user's behavior, I chose for a tag-style pattern for the filter options – so users can quickly activate or deactive a filter value to see the impact on their total amount of houses. Another big change was to be able to use free input for the price ranges. Quite a few users had provided us with feedback throughout the last years that the fixed ranges we suggested before we too broad: if your bank tells you that your maximum mortgage is € 162.500, you don't want € 150.000 because it excluded the better listings but settings the maximum to € 200.000 will continue to disappoint you with houses you can't afford. To assist users with typing in their own price ranges, we help them with autocompleting the number, so the 'zero issue' of counting zeroes will be avoided.
Now we had mapped in our customer journey where the high and low points are, I introduced animations in the UI to improve these moments. My goal here was to make sure that it feels like the app celebrates the highs of the journey with you, but also softens the low points where possible. When someone finds their potential dream house, animations can help to make this moment feel like a small party. When we don't have any results to show you for your search preferences, animations can help soften the blow.
I create these animations in After Effects, then export them through the Bodymovin plugin and then we embed them in the apps with the Lottie framework.
Animation to display if we are experiencing an error on the website – intended use on error 500 page
Want to see more of my work? I'd be happy to share my projects with you over a cup of coffee