While one wing of the Redfin office wrestles about changes to the home tours program the other wing of the office is up in arms over how we surface search options on the map page.
When we re-designed our website in April one of the changes we made was hiding the search options. The reasoning behind this controversial design was that since users spend most of their time navigating the map and only occasionally change the number of beds or square footage that they’re looking for, we should make the map as large as possible and move the search options to an overlay. The overlay then only appears when you give focus to the search input box or click a widget.
Initially to display the search overlay pictured above users would need to click the link ‘Filter Search’:
However, we heard occasional stories of users not knowing they could search on number of beds or price. So our next design was to include a drop down widget besides the search button. This is reminiscent of what many Windows applications do or what Facebook does.
But still we heard stories of users not knowing they could change their search options. With our next release we’re looking at combining both the link and drop down widget approachs by moving the drop down widget and changing the name on the link to hint at what it enables you to change:
Unfortunately a number of co-workers stormed into my office yesterday, criticized the design and called me names. If I were to pass you the Redfin Search Product Manager baton how would you solve this discoverability problem? Feedback welcome but Photoshop submissions preferred :). To sweeten the pot we’re offering $250 if we use your submission. However, if you have a winning submission the real question is, why haven’t you applied for our interaction designer position yet?
And with that I’m off to Whistler. Happy Thanksgiving!