Designing a great user-experience for property information

UX Strategy • E-Commerce Design • Responsive Design • Front-End Development • Performance Optimisation

QV.co.nz is New Zealand’s leading source of property information and advice. They offer detailed information on every residential and commercial property throughout the country, from Rating Valuations and Property Specifications through to Full Market Valuations.

When QV approached us they had a seemingly straightforward problem. To take their existing website and make it responsive across mobile phone and tablet devices. However due to the complexity of their offer and the large volume of data that was needed to be displayed, their website was going to face a range of unforeseen design and usability issues when viewed on mobile devices.

We began by conducting a thorough evaluation of the current website as well as an in-depth analysis of similar websites worldwide. We also interviewed various user groups to understand how they used the site and what their pain points were. During this research phase, we discovered that the QV site was suffering some larger usability issues that were only going to be amplified when viewed on a mobile device. The general feedback we gained from our user group research, was that customers found the information hard to understand, difficult to find and were, therefore, reluctant to interact with new areas of the site for fear of getting lost in its structure. Simply put, the site was far from intuitive which caused users to restrict their overall usage of the tools available.

Working with Brent and Julian has been a pleasure. They quickly understood our product and became subject matter experts. Their solution catered precisely to our target audiences and was tailored to our exact needs. I would absolutely recommend Spire for any complex digital strategy or user-experience related projects.Aju Mathew - CoreLogic

A common problem with digital products is that as they grow, new features are added without a great deal of consideration for how the product is experienced as a whole. This can result in a product that is feature rich but ultimately complicated and without a clear hierarchy of product information. QV had fallen into this exact trap. A fresh perspective helped QV to identify the need for a user-experience overhaul. An overhaul that would align its content and its functionality, with the exact needs of its users.

When restructuring information it’s essential to establish who your users are and how they need to interact with the information provided. Our research identified five distinct user groups, these being; general buyers, general sellers, first home buyers, investors and renovators. Each of these user groups needing to interact with the QV website in a slightly different way. By mapping the user-flow for each of these user groups, we were able to restructure the site in a way that made it more intuitive and usable for their exact needs. By adding value to their user journey, we were able to support them by offering information and tools that helped them use the site to greater effect.

By creating in-depth wireframes for every page of the websites structure, we were able to walk the client through every detail of the content hierarchy and information architecture, showing them how every feature worked across the website, on both the desktop and mobile versions. This meant that we could resolve any intricate changes to the sites structure both cost effectively and efficiently. At the same time providing a concise blueprint for QV’s internal development team to work from.

During the wireframing process, we worked with QV to dramatically simplify how the information was presented, navigated and purchased. Helping them to make key decisions on how property reports were bundled and priced to align with the needs of their user groups. The wireframes were presented electronically so that multiple QV staff members could easily critique them and add their feedback and changes as required. By using this process all changes can be tracked to ensure everyone’s feedback is tabled and reviewed.

Once the functionality and layout had been established and approved we were able to design the look and feel of the new site, knowing that the structure of the site was understood by the client and that all the stakeholders had received the chance to review and engage with the recommendations we had put forward.

It is believed that 95% of a user’s first impression is based on design, as people, we make snap judgments about the quality and clarity of a business before we even read a single line of text. Therefore design was going to play an important role. As part of the design process we created mockups of select pages and also supplied a detailed design style guide that included various button states, colour palettes, typography use, as well as graph and imagery styles. This ensured that visual consistency could be maintained throughout the site.

To make the transition as seamless as possible for QV’s internal development team, we built coded working templates that could be used as the basis of the site inside QV’s custom content management system. These templates were fully functional, with well-documented code, and scaled seamlessly across desktop, tablet and mobile devices.

The QV site is currently being developed and is due to be launched any week. Based on the success of the QV redesign, and the insights that were gained throughout the process, we are now working with QV’s parent company to improve their other software solutions across various industries.

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