Realtor.com just went through a major design overhaul and I thought it would be interesting to see the reaction of the tech crowd. It looks to me like it’s a move in the direction of most of the larger internet-based companies: simplify, streamline, and create a sleek, modern feel. (Disclaimer: I’m a guest writer for Realtor.com, but I receive no compensation or financial incentives from the company. I just enjoy picking apart this stuff.)
The home page for first-time visitors has been redesigned with just a few buttons and options. This seems to agree with most of the research we’re seeing about consumer behavior online. The more choices a web visitor has, the more likely they’ll become confused and just leave the site. Give them fewer options and they’ll feel more in control, stay longer, keep page views up, and bounce rates down.
The logo has a new design, one that might surprise the Realtor community at first, with its dramatic departure from the traditional blocky capital letters and “Realtor R”. The idea behind the new logo seems to be tied in with the tagline “Where home happens.” The home is at the center of the circle, created by an accumulation of lines that might signify the process involved with creating that home. Don’t think I’m just waxing poetic here. As Andrew Strickman, VP of Brand and Creative put it, “Our new logo, typography, and tagline amplify the human connection between consumers and the emotional process of finding or selling a home.”
Speaking of typography, the logo and taglines are all lowercase, sans-serif fonts. The appeal here seems to be a softening of the branding, creating less of an institutional “We are the industry” feel, and more of a “we’re part of your home buying/selling process.”
As a user returns to the site for a second time, there is a dramatically different feel. The layout has adapted to the location of the user’s last search, and a more in-depth home page appears with local real estate listings, market data, Q&A, etc. Blogs, real estate industry links, social media, and a plethora of other choices become a standard part of the layout. The thinking here is likely that once a web visitor becomes a repeat visitor they are already in a comfort zone, and adding a wider variety of choices won’t “scare them away” like it might for a first-time visitor.
Also, notice the active bar at the bottom of the browser window. It’s a quick access bar to launch logins, searches, and favorite listings.
It’s an interesting new logo, design, and strategy. Any thoughts?