Evolving your estate agent website design
22 September, 2009 | Web design
Estate agents cannot keep the same website design forever. It gradually becomes dated, in both aesthetics and usability, as the fashion of website design changes and user online behaviour alters. When is the best time for estate agents to redesign their website? Estate agents must always remember that they have 3 seconds to impress.
Most of the time, people dislike change. Take the example 'Users criticise Facebook update' from BBC's Newsbeat. It states that in an online poll 94% of users disliked the changes but Facebook, but Facebook ignored this. They knew the changes were for the benefit of its users and now most people have forgotten what the old Facebook design was like. Yet, users have even responded positively to Facebook Lite, a slimmed down, re-design of Facebook.
This is where balance has to be entered into the equation. Estate agents must weigh the pros and cons of redesigning their estate agent website. The only con is that users love a familiarity, but this is from routine. As from the example above, it didn't take long for users to change their habits as long as usability is the underlining factor of a website's design. Estate agents must remember to redesign their website for their users, not for themselves.
Estate agents need to remember that users are task orientated. They have accessed your website for two main reasons, property search and accessing contact details. Once on your estate agent website, they will be looking for several 'Call to Actions' so that they can complete the task in hand. Several 'Call to Actions' are now the benchmark of any estate agent website, including a large property search button or a crystal clear primary navigation that clearly states each section of the website.
Estate agents should not forget features. As discussed in 'the best estate agent websites', enhanced mapping, Google Street View, high resolution photos, EPC's, HIPs, virtual tours that are all embedded into the website will improve the 'stickiness'. Features that link off or are opened in a 'pop-up' increase the chance that users will be led onto another competitor or just led astray.
In conclusion, estate agents must get the basics right. A website with clear 'Calls to Action', transparent usability, fantastic user experience will win hands down over a website that looks visually stunning but users find hard to navigate. Features that are on top of a well designed estate agent website will finish off the WOW factor and will force users to keep coming back again and again.
Resource Techniques is a specialist in websites for estate agents. We provide a large range of services including web design for estate agents, Search Engine optimisation for estate agents, SEO services, and software for estate agents. Resource Techniques can be contactable from our Twitter profile, Facebook Fan Page or our contact us page.