How Hiking Got Me Thinking About Leasing

Part Two: Apartments and UX

By John Hall - October 30, 2018

I bought a bunch of hiking socks. There were multiple businesses that would have been happy to sell them to me, but my decision was determined as much by my online user experience as it was by the socks I wanted.

Your prospective residents are like I was. They are motivated, have a budget, and they want to focus their energy on the features of your community that are important to them.

Let’s take a look at the problems that often frustrate motivated online searchers, whether the search be for socks or for a new home.
  • Searches are too broad
  • Searches are too narrow
  • Not enough detail
  • Poor visuals
  • Inadequate saving capability

So, what features would you expect to see with good multifamily UX?

1) Useful search parameters
Prospects don’t all want the same thing, so they need to be able to meaningfully narrow their searches, both in terms of parameters and scope. 

2) Breadth of information
Your prospects are not one-size-fits-all. Your most saleable features should stand out, but make sure that all of your features can be found by those who are interested. Good UX creates a structure where a user is not overwhelmed with information, but has the ability to access certain items with very few actions.

3) Sleek design
Too many apartment applications are unnecessarily cluttered, and complicated to navigate. Simple, intuitive navigation is essential to a positive user experience. 

4) Quality visuals
Visuals - photographs, video, maps, and diagrams - are vastly superior to text, especially with online or touchscreen displays. An overreliance on text, or an application that looks unattractive or out of date, will sink your leasing efforts.

5) Portability
If a prospect finds something they like, make it simple for them to save and share. Good design allows users to design their own takeaways, and save them on their own devices.

Good UX showcases the best features of your community, and makes it easy for your prospects to find the information they value. But it does even more than that. There is a sales element to good UX design that is not as explicit, but is still very important. Think of your online leasing applications like you do your leasing center. You want your leasing center to be beautiful and inviting, while being functional and useful to your prospects and residents. While your residents will not be living in your office, how you treat it sends a message about the quality of your entire community.

Likewise, well-designed user interfaces communicate that you are dedicated to providing a good experience - to prospects and residents alike.

Is UX helping or hindering your leasing efforts? Do your prospective residents have their own sock stories to tell?

Title photo by nic on Unsplash
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