The Funda redesign: making a great site better
Funda is an online platform for real estate in the Netherlands. Just recently, they launched a major redesign of their website. It includes the biggest changes since their initial launch in 2001.
With a leading position in the market, more than 3 million unique visitors each month, and house seekers rating the site with a score of 8,2 out of 10, you couldn’t really say Funda was in desperate need of an all new website. Still, the teams at Funda believed things could be better. They made some simple but crucial design decisions based on data and user insights. Some examples:
Focus on visuals
It appeared that, when looking for a house, 75% of the visitors first clicked on the pictures. The new design of the object detail page supports this behavior and focuses primarily on photos. The pictures on the object detail page are now much more prominent and the photo-viewer is much bigger.
Single page layout instead of tab navigation
Over the last few years, website users got familiar to scrolling, while clicking became somewhat of a chore. On the object detail page, analytics showed a lot of back and forth clicking between the tabs. The designers at Funda chose to optimally suit user behavior. Most of the information that was previously hidden in the tabs can now be accessed from a single page.
Old versus new layout of the object detail page
Going responsive and mobile-first
Currently, at certain moments of the day, mobile device usage of funda.nl already accounts for two-thirds of the total number of visits. This percentage is expected to grow even more.
Until recently Funda had a seperate website for mobile devices. Moving from two seperate websites to a single responsive site made sense. The mobile-first design approach forced the designers to be more focussed in terms of content and functionality. It also made sure that all pages were optimized for touch screen devices.
The responsive website also comes with a number of technical benefits. With having to maintain only one website instead of two, changes can be implemented more easily, in less time than it used to cost. The number of releases can be increased, and A/B testing will be much easier to perform.
Our role in the process
Valsplat has worked with Funda for years now. In this redesign project we helped to integrate user research into the workflow of the design teams. We maintained a strict rhythm of testing new designs on a monthly basis. Jeroen Mulder, Head of User Experience at Funda, explains the value of this approach:
“Design at Funda is a healthy mix of vision, data and research. Valsplat helped us to validate some major design decisions and showed us when to take a few steps back.”Jeroen Mulder, Head of User Experience at Funda
In-house user testing
All of the user tests were conducted at the Funda office, using our UX pop-up lab. Jeroen on user testing in-house:
“If you want to make big changes to your website, you need to gain trust throughout the whole company. The best way to do this is to prove whether certain [design] decisions work or not. That’s why we think user testing should always be conducted at our own office, making it possible for colleagues to drop in anytime.”
In-house user testing makes it easy to communicate findings and insights with team members and stakeholders. After each test, the most important issues are discussed and shared immediately. Findings can be translated into tasks or user stories right away, which means documenting the outcomes of a test is often unnecessary. This lean aproach helps the team to get on with their design work as soon as possible.
Apart from regular user testing, we attended designer meetups at the Funda headquarters every week. During these meetings we challenged the team’s new ideas, discussed best practises and reviewed designs.
Jeroen: “To me, the main benefit of working with Valsplat is in the expertise you bring to the table. This expertise is truly built on actually observing users and seeing what things do and what things don’t work for them. It helps us to do quick sanity checks, eliminating most of the options so we can focus on designing and testing other solutions.”
Keep your users close
Funda managed to optimize a user experience that was already embraced by millions of house seekers. In the time to come, new parts of the redesign will be released. In the meantime, collecting data and user insights will remain key to Funda’s succes.
Written by Wouter Boer, UX specialist. Thanks to: Jeroen Mulder.