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Expert audit – Zipmatch

Expert (heuristic) audit

Zipmatch revolutionised the property market in Manila by enabling renters, owners, buyers, sellers & brokers to market and find appropriate properties. Prior to Zipmatch there was no easy way for renters or buyers to easily understand which properties were available to view, nor to easily make appointments to view the properties. Equally, sellers & brokers were frustrated that they couldn’t reach a wide enough audience with their available properties.

When Zipmatch decided on a redesign they wanted to optimise the user experience for buyers, renters, sellers & brokers, but they didn’t have a huge budget or a lot of time available. I proposed an expert (heuristic) audit of the existing site, followed by a small sample moderated usability testing session to get feedback from actual users.

An expert usability audit is a review of a website by an ‘expert’ usability practitioner in the absence of real users. Generally, these audits will use stand-in users in the form of personas, if available, or based on the client’s knowledge of their users.

 

How might we optimise the user experience of zipmatch.com, with limited time & budget, for our varied user needs?

Users & audience

Zipmatch is primarily aimed at people wanting to buy or rent their next home, but it has an important secondary audience of property brokers and people wanting to sell their properties.

Roles & responsibilities

I worked with the Chief Technology Officer & lead UI developer to understand the audience in more detail as well as the website & company objectives. This enabled me to tailor the expert review to their specific needs & requirements.

Process

Framework

The analysis framework consisted of four dimensions:

• Getting to goals

• Content

• Functionality

• Design and layout

Each item in the framework was tied in with one or more web usability heuristics, pioneered by Jakob Nielsen.

The review

I conducted the audit by looking at the goals the primary target audiences (buyers and brokers) would have on Zipmatch and then walking through the tasks required to achieve these goals. Whilst doing this, I evaluated the usability of the site against various dimensions on the above framework.

Analysis & presenting the findings

Following the audit I wrote up a detailed report for Zipmatch highlighting a number of areas where they could improve. I discussed the findings directly with Zipmatch and we figured out a strategy for implementing the highest value ‘fixes’.

Outcomes & lessons

The findings from the audit were extremely valuable to Zipmatch in helping them with further iterations of their site. Actionable outcomes were immediately achieved due to how issues had been prioritised in the report and from the subsequent strategy discussion with Zipmatch.