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Finding Your Dream Home With Zillow

The goal for this project was to allow user interviews to inform the project focus. I listened to current user pain points within the Zillow app from the perspective of home buyers, renters, and real estate agents and used these findings to formulate the project scope. The resulting case study is an exploration of enhanced buyer/renter educational content within the Zillow platform.

Individual Project 

Completed at MICA | 2023

Who are we designing for?

Interviewing

I spoke to a mix of real estate agents, home renters, and home buyers who frequently use the Zillow platform.

2

Agents

2

Buyers

2

=

Renters

6

Total Interviewees

100%

Zillow Users

66%

Male

34%

Female

Affinitization

Using sticky notes, I pulled all the key points from each interview and grouped them to discover patterns. 

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Individual

Data Points

Key Insights

User Personas

With the patterns pulled from my user insights, I created 3 different personas to represent the real estate agent, home buyer, and home renter perspectives. 

A Point of Contention

While assembling my personas, I noticed an issue experienced by agents and an issue experienced by home buyers/renters that seemed to be related.

Abby Agent

Abby purchases leads via Zillow but finds that the number of quality leads she’s getting via the Zillow contact form is not worth the price.

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Ben Buyer

Ben is getting discouraged at how few responses he’s getting from agents when he reaches out about homes on Zillow.

The Problem

While buyers and renters are frustrated by the lack of replies from agents on Zillow, agents don’t trust that Zillow is providing them with viable leads that are worth their time and effort to respond to.

Defining the Opportunity

How might we...

Improve communication between agents and buyers/renters so that buyers/renters feel confident that they will get a prompt response to their property inquiries?

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Competitive Analysis

White Space Opportunity

I analyzed some of Zillow's largest competitors and discovered an opportunity for Zillow to stand out in the realm of buyer/renter education.

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Realtor.com

  • News & insights tab

  • Basic mortgage content in “more” tab

  • No rental educational content

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Redfin

  • Step by step home buying article

  • Basic mortgage content in “My Redfin” tab

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Trulia

  • Basic mortgage content in “more” tab

  • No rental educational content

The Solution

A focus on educating buyers and renters

  • Incorporate educational resources for both buyers AND renters in an easily accessible location within the app.

  • Guide users step by step through the buying and renting process in an interactive and engaging way.

  • Incentivize users to complete the guide by providing “dream home matches” at the end based on the search criteria and data they are directed to input.

  • The goal is to educate buyers and renters on the process and help them find a home that realistically fits their needs before they reach out to an agent. This will increase the number of viable leads agents receive through Zillow, and in turn, increase agent trust and engagement with the platform.

Outcome: Increase the number of successful interactions between buyers/renters and agents by 5%.

Opportunity: Educate users on the buying/renting process prior to contacting an agent.

Solution: Interactive home buying walkthrough with educational resources, dream home matches, and agent info.

User Journey

Journey Mapping

The interactive walkthrough guides users through budgeting, selecting a location, prioritizing home amenities and style, contacting an agent, and finalizing a lease or purchase agreement.

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Wireframing 

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Usability Testing

Collecting Feedback

I recruited three Zillow users to evaluate the functionality and effectiveness of my interactive walkthrough prototype. Throughout the test sessions, I captured notes with actionable feedback to implement into my final prototype. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Users responded well to the “dream home matches” at the end and liked the process of entering in their home search criteria.

  • There were security concerns over requiring users to enter personal financial information to calculate their budget rather than just entering in a target budget.

  • While most users felt that the guide took a reasonable amount of time/effort to complete, some mentioned that the more text-heavy resource pages felt tedious.

Visual Design

Style Guide

Drawing from Zillow's existing mobile app, I created this design sheet to reference as I moved into high-fidelity prototyping to stay true to the Zillow design language.

Final Prototype

Home Buyer Walkthrough

The home buyer walkthrough includes educational resources specific to purchasing a home, including mortgage resources, an affordability calculator, how to submit an offer, and closing information. 

Home Renter Walkthrough

The home renter walkthrough includes renter-specific resources including a rental affordability calculator, rental application information, and lease agreement resources. The inclusion of renter-specific resources within the mobile app interface could be a key differentiator between Zillow and their competitors.

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