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Judging a book by its cover: Why user experience matters in PropTech

Why do we choose to engage with one application more than another, or find ourselves returning to the same piece of software over again?

Logically, you believe that you’re an analytical being, who rationally weighs up the merits of one solution over another before making a choice. You decide which ones to implement in your agency based on evidence and functionality.

While that may be partly true, in reality we’re more emotional beings than we’d like to admit.

There are powerful psychological factors in our attachments to a particular software solution or application, that is strongly related to user experience. And user experience is critical in the effective rollout and ongoing use of a new solution.

Beauty sparks motivation

“I think it's more accurate to think of aesthetics as a key ingredient in a recipe, as opposed to the icing on the cake,” wrote Stephen P. Anderson, in Seductive Interaction Design: Creating Playful, Fun, and Effective User Experiences.

When a product looks attractive people are more likely to use it. If it also succeeds in removing friction when performing everyday tasks, and combines that with motivating techniques to make them enjoyable, you can start to encourage certain beneficial behaviours.

A product that looks good will get more of your employees’ attention in the first place. They’ll want to make it work and use it. And if it simplifies important tasks, like processing a viewing or appraisal, then staff will not only be more likely to do them, they might find themselves getting a sense of satisfaction from doing so.

Playing games creates urgency

Traditional process-driven software promotes a steady attitude to work. Whereas applications that play a little with their users can get them to work faster, and get more done. Gamifying the completion of work can get employees to take pleasure in increasing their productivity.

One psychological game that can be applied is the setting of appropriate challenges. Those that strike a balance between being overwhelming and being boring. If some meaningful achievements are added when users overcome those challenges then the activity becomes even more engaging.

Vision trumps all other senses

Visualising data in colourful charts makes it easier for users to engage with, and understand, performance metrics.

Making results visual also plays on our obsession with our status relative to others and achieving our personal best. If users can assess their performance instantly from a chart, then they can take actions to improve by working with more purpose to achieve set goals and meet targets.

Solutions that don’t pay attention to user experience or use these techniques are missing a trick. In a tough property market, it’s important that you choose software that supports you in getting the best possible performance out of your team, and rewarding those who are doing well.

Alto property software employs the latest user experience techniques to encourage adoption and usage, improving efficiency. The way the software looks plays a significant role in your first impression of the product, and as you delve deeper into using it you’ll find the other psychological techniques discussed here built into the experience.

Here are a couple of examples:

Processing tasks

The tasks widget gets users to perform manageable broken down tasks that take them through the processes involved in selling a property. At each stage they are gratified by achieving completion on another step, getting closer to the ultimate goal.

Charts dashboard

Judging a book by its cover: Why user experience matters in PropTech

The Charts section visualises your data easily and visually to help your employees take action. The live data means that they are driven to try to affect change immediately.

Book a demo to find out about how the user experience of Alto can improve the performance of your team.

*Steve Fisher is Software Product Director at Zoopla Property Group

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