Increase the number of leads being sent to estate agents and letting agents through the Zoopla mobile app and improve the overall consumer experience.
1. Define the app strategy: the unique value it offers, or could offer, to consumers (the public), customers (estate agents and letting agents) and the business
2. Explore and develop the brand tone, voice and style
3. Design, build, test and iterate based on the above
4. Create the App Store content and other collateral
Ben joined Zoopla as the first content designer in the business. Meaning he had to quickly balance the massive role of content design evangelist and content designer for the multiple product streams he was embedded in.
We worked together in the Zoopla app team, where he quickly became indispensable and helped shape the future of the product.
As a true team-player, Ben initiated conversations between the product team and key stakeholders across various departments, opening up desperately needed lines of communication.
He goes above and beyond to understand the challenges of the team he is embedded in and the requirements of the wider business.
Personally, I went from not knowing what content design was, to be a number one fan—all because of Ben’s hard work. I was lucky to have worked with him.
From our data analysis, user research and subject matter expert (SME) interviews across the business, we quickly realised our two biggest user types, buyers and renters, expected quite different things from the app.
Buyers wanted a place to browse, self-educate and be entertained, often for several months, before deciding to take action. Renters, on the other hand, wanted to be able to thoroughly scour the market, get the most accurate and up-to-date information, access it easily on the move and take the relevant action quickly.
Both user types represented value to the business, via the leads they send to estate agents and lettings agents through Zoopla. At such an early stage, it would have been reckless to prioritise one user group at the expense of the other.
We pointed at a lot of post-it notes
With the above in mind, we worked as a team to define a unique ‘belief’, ‘vision’ and ‘mission’ document for the Zoopla app, to give us clarity in our purpose and guide any strategic or design decisions we would make.
The UI designers used this to inspire a new suite of illustrations (see below).
An illustration for the App Store ‘App of the Day’ inspired by the App strategy
BRAND TONE AND VOICE
Through further workshops, we developed a framework for a brand personality, including personality archetypes and defining character traits.
From this we built content pillars, objectives for the various parts of the app, and some working experience principles.
Once agreed by the team and key stakeholders, we could start applying it to all parts of the app, from the error messaging to the marketing material.
The new App Store image cards now lead with a positive and empowering value proposition, and read as a list of user benefits, rather than just features.
The copy has been written in a way that’s easier to scan and understand quickly. The order of cards front-loads the most important and popular features of the app, in case a user doesn’t know there are more to see.
As we were making some important and very noticeable updates to the app, we wanted to make the App Store’s ‘What’s New’ content more accessible and useful to every user.
Rather than the usual bulleted list of updates, full of developer jargon, we tried to explain more clearly what had changed and why.
Our marketing messaging hadn’t kept up with the development of the app, so we took the App Store ‘Description’ as an opportunity to rethink how we talked about the app.
Working closely with the marketing team, we rewrote the content, putting more emphasis on the benefits and features we now knew our users valued the most.
We redesigned the IA to remove some underused legacy features and reprioritise others. We got rid of the complicated ‘hamburger’ menu and organised the content around five permanently-visible tabs: Home, Properties, Search, House prices and Settings.
The ‘Home’ tab will give users a snapshot of their activity and offer personalised recommendations and advice – more useful for those wanting to window-shop, be inspired and self-educate in their own good time. The ‘Properties’ and ‘Search’ tabs give more active users a dedicated space to organise their search, shortlist properties, track their activity, dig into the details and take action quickly.
The old app’s ‘hamburger’ menu
The new app’s five-tab navigation
SHORT AND LONG-TERM THINKING
For the launch of the new app we could only reorganise or remove features. We didn’t have time to create entirely new ones. However, we had some wild and exciting ideas for the near future that could only be implemented thanks to the new IA.
With more robust analytics now in place, the team can also measure and interpret user behaviours more reliably and make design decisions much more quickly.
The app launched to 100% of iOS users on 25th June 2019.
In the short time since the rollout began, we’ve already seen an increase in user sessions, and conversion (users contacting estate agents and letting agents through the app) is steadily creeping up.
The app will soon be rolling out to Android users.