Vote Early, Vote Often

Redfin has been futzing around with some new designs for the home page of our website and could use your help picking one out. Our goals are to get people searching and to explain how Redfin works.

We only get one shot at the explanation because returning visitors see a view of our map as they left it on their last visit. Many are so thunderstruck by the Redfin search superpowers that they never realize we have to make a living buying and selling homes.

When we surveyed our customers about what they wanted to see on the home page 58% asked for an explanation of our commission refund, 47% for an overview of our company, and 45% for a step-by-step guide to the process. But you should just say what you want: even though this blog is by and for people at an absurd remove from reality, please don’t feel like you have to channel anyone normal. It never works.

Here are the choices, which you can click to enlarge:

  1. Illustrated explanation of the buying process:
  2. Home Page with Illustration Strip

  3. Photo illustration of the buying process:
  4. Photo illustration of the buying process...

  5. Who we are, in paragraph form:
  6. Who we are, paragraph text

  7. Who we are, in bullet form:

Who We Are, With Bullets

Tell us which one you like first, second, third and last; suggest modifications or an entirely new treatment. Thanks to Savan Kong, Jason Wu, Michael Young, Matt Goyer, Jeff Yee, Marc Singer, Dana Irming, Bryan Selner, Leo Shklovskii and many others for their input so far. And thanks to everybody else for your feedback now…

We’ll also post a link to our Real Estate Forums, too.

Discussion

  • Jerry

    I vote for option #4.

  • apple

    I like either one or two showing the process step by step.

    #1 then #2 is my vote.

  • http://marcelo.sampasite.com Marcelo Calbucci
  • noname

    #1 is by far the best. 2 is Ok but you should use more professional looking photograpy

  • http://www.2ndhomeblog.net Florence Beaton

    I would say either #1 or #3. They both look good. Definitely not #2 (been done before, and isn’t any fun).

  • http://sfbay.redfin.com/blog/author/susan.brady susan.brady

    #3. I think that #1 is too cartoony and not appealing enough and only address the buying aspect of your service. #2 is better than #1, but still only addresses the buying. #3 is a quick and easy snapshot of who you and what you do. It reads quickly and easily, and if friendlier than the bullet pointed #4.Somehow the bullet points make some of the facts a bit snarky and less friendly. Good work guys and gal.

  • Dave Smith

    My order of preference is the same as the order you’ve presented:

    1. It clearly explains the process for buyers, and the most compelling customer benefit (IMO): the refund. In addition, the images support the steps.

    2. Really the same as option 1, but the most of the photos do nothing to illustrate the concept or step they are associated with. The “cartoons” in option 1 are much more effective.

    3. Nice, but doesn’t tell me how the Redfin process works.

    4. Bulleted lists work on a details page, but not here.

  • Kelly O’Neil

    I definitely like #1 the best. The buy side is the most dramatic difference between your company and traditional brokerages and the cartoons illustrate that competative advantage clearly. The photos are less clear – although the woman in the photo adds a nice touch (lets face it – who really makes the decision when buying a home?)

    I would make the smile on the on the last cartoon bigger – I’d be ecstatic with a check for 10 grand!

  • Joel Burslem

    #3 gets by vote.

  • Paul Lin

    Ok, UI design question…couldn’t resist:) In my opinion, #3 is the best, because…

    1 is better than 2 because the people’s faces distract from the process – as humans we have a tendency to look into eyes and faces, much more when it’s a photo. So for 2 my eyes automatically goes into the people’s faces, which is not good because you want people to look at the message presented as a sequence of images (in other words, people end up interpreting the images as individual items when they should be seen as a sequential whole, like a comic strip…gestalt principles and all that). The number of faces staring at me in 2 also gives the feeling of a social network site, which may not be the vibe Redfin want to give to potential buyers.

    3 is better than 4 because the points are so simple, it seems a bit strange to put them into a bulleted list. Bulleted list seem to work better for difficult-to-write-in-paragraph information (like lots of numbers, stats). It also feels less friendly and user-accessible than just plain text, because bulleted points of important points feels somewhat formal for me.

    3 is better than 1 because it is the simplest. When you try to sell something new, they always tell you to do an elevator pitch – if you can’t explain your product in two or three sentences, then people lose interest. And 3 provides just that, a simple definition of what Redfin is. No pictures, no bullet points, just a straight to the point, friendly “talk to the user” explanation of Redfin. 1 and 2, like too many websites these days, are too colourful and messy, and trying to piece together what Redfin is from various cartoons, text and equation is just too much work for me. 3 is like a magazine or newspaper frontpage heading, and that works for me.

    So while they’ll all pretty good, I’d pick 3.

  • Vibeesh

    #1 & #4

  • http://www.wetpaint.com Ben Elowitz

    I think it’s pretty neat of you to ask your constituents like this! Inspiring!

    #1 seems the most compelling and illustrative to me on your goals. Using illustration instead of photos strikes me as less literal, and makes it easier for me to imagine that it’s me.

  • ReginaP

    #1 – gets my vote. It’s short, sweet and to the point! It would be great if we could show the sell side process below it (with same cartoon illustrations) so that people are aware we do both.

  • Angela

    I like number 1! But I would like it better if the boxes of steps were numbered (1, 2, 3).

  • http://seattle.redfin.com/blog/author/marie.hagman marie.hagman

    Definitely #1.

    From #1 I “get it” in 2 seconds. The cartoon graphics are especially effective.

    Second pick is #2 but it’s not as easy to scan as #1 because the people are distracting. The benefit of this one is that it shows real people use the site and there are real agents.

  • Josh

    I like option #2 best. I don’t like the cartoon thing. I just can’t relate to it as well. I like to see real people who have used (or might have used…) Redfin’s service.

    But, truthfully, I don’t like the idea of having that home page between the user and the service. I feel like it would be more effective to have users land right on the “home search” page, so they can immediately mess around with the functionality. After they experience the benefit of the interface, they’re hooked. And then I’d come at them with the background of how the service really works.

  • http://sfbay.redfin.com/blog/author/tracey.taylor tracey.taylor

    I would opt for 2 or 4. I think photos of real people draw people in much more effectively than cartoon/graphics. There should be links to those buyers’ stories too. Bullet points work for me — to the point and brief. This is a much needed overhaul as well — too many search sites out there now. Good luck!

  • http://www.fortisforge.com selly

    #1, #2 and then #3. Keep on rocking!

  • Donald

    A Redfin agent’s perspective here…

    I’m definitely in favor of #3. The storyboard in #1 and #2 almost feel distracting. Additionally, they make the page look “bottom heavy” to me.

    We want to explain that we’re more than a search site. We provide consumer centered brokerage services at a price other firms can’t (or won’t) compete with. #3 simplifies the message and plants an easy to remember concept – “Redfin is on my side.”

    The lack of a storyboard isn’t a weakness in my eyes. Those interested in taking advantage of Redfin’s core service will a) get the concept and b) seek and find details on our services. Our services are explained in great detail only one or two links outside of our mapping function.

    Looking forward to the final result!

  • http://bubblemore.blogspot.com Kevin

    #1

  • http://condodomain.com/blog Anthony Longo

    #1 (there all good) you gotta go with your first gut decision in times like this!

  • Dave

    Will you ever stop changing the site? I am a customer and user of the site and it gets really frustrating when the site changes so frequently.

  • http://realestate.mattgoyer.com Matt Goyer

    Hi Dave,

    We are updating the site about every two months. At the beginning of the year we made a lot of changes. First a new map and then a whole new look and feel. Now that we have those two big things out of the way we are listening to our users and fixing the issues that bug them the most and adding the most asked for features. I think you’ll find that over the next half a year the changes will be much less dramatic.

  • Chuck

    #1 and I agree with Angela that the steps should be numbered. Perhaps the first step should be 1) “search ALL homes online”, 2) tour homes with Redfin or on your own, etc.

  • KB

    I like #1.

    You need to look at more ideas/illustrations for the cartoon characters. They are rather strange looking.

    Also, it shows only one white male client with a white female agent.

    The only diversity in any of the examples is California couple with the Asian-American female and a white male partner

    I agree with showing the sell process below it

    I agree with numbering the process steps

    I would add the overall comment from #4: we are on online real estate company with local agents.

    Thanks for asking.

  • Janelle

    Redfin Agent here, with my 2 cents:

    I like the look of #1, and how is says “Buying with Redfin”, but it seems as if there should also be a “Selling With Redfin” instead of “Save $10,000″

    Could we have a basic visual for Buy, Sell and Search?

    The cartoons look great because the color schemes are fluid throughout, but perhaps we could use pictures of real houses/people/agents. The trick here would be to get all the colors/exposures looking good together. You know what they say, you never get a second chance at a first impression.

    We are a smart, funny, hard working and ethical lot. Some folks here are even stylish! Our home page should reflect that.

    Cheers.

  • http://robsnewchapter.blogspot.com/ Rob Mathewson

    Number 1 is the best of the lot, but there are a few areas where the message doesn’t come through:

    -There is no mention that Red Fin reveals “hidden” information.
    -In frame #1 the buyer begins by touring homes, what about the research?
    -Is that the seller with the agent in frame #3? At first glance, I thought it was the buyer with the wrong color hair. Also, the position of the laptop suggests that it is in the same setting as in frame #2.
    -The buyer’s hair changes in frame 4.

    Suggestions:
    -By incorporating the agent into frame #1 there will be a stronger signal that a partnership exists between the buyer and agent and that Red Fin has real live agents on the street. Doing so lessens the chance for confusion in frame #3. Making the seller non-white, would also help.
    -the research and hidden information subjects can be introduced by branding the printable house fliers as “Smart Fliers” or something similar. The paper in the buyer’s hand could have a balloon caption that says “Smart Flier(tm)” with a link to a more comprehensive description of Red Fin’s research resources with an emphasis on the hidden information.

  • Amanda Ludholtz

    #3 or #4. Can’t wait to see which one is chosen!

  • http://www.antalyahomes.com turkey

    It rocks. Very well. I vote for classical #4.

  • DMorrow

    I’m a newly re-licensed agent. #1 with real people or better looking cartoon people. Hey, some advice from Redfin agents….would you recommend that I start agin with a brick and mortar office or Redfin? Thank you

  • Cynthia

    In looking at all the comments, it appears that everyone has chosen #1. I am in agreement wholeheartedly. but I like the personal touch part in #3 as well it shows, who you are. I’m getting the impression that you guys are buyers agents??? But I read somewhere that you are mortgage brokers also. Shouldn’t this be important information be included in your homepage as well?

  • Curtis

    My vote is for #4 in terms of driving traffic through a UI that is clean, easy to navigate and is straight to the point.

  • Asher

    Number 1 is the best, but you should use South Park characters instead.

  • mika

    #4 for me

  • Victoria

    I think you should meld #1 with bullet points from #4.

  • hmSearcher

    Vote for #4.  It'll be better if you add the shorty description on how customers save that $10k from #1.