Real Estate Transaction Management


Florida Realtors is a trade association boasting more than 155,000 members. The association launched Form Simplicity in 2011, a web-based application that helps realtors and brokers complete complex real estate transactions, stands as one of its core offerings.

Form Simplicity helps realtors and brokers complete complex transactions, and stands as one of Florida Realtors core offerings. The team has continually been making improvements to it since its inception, but in spite of this, usability issues persisted, hindering the ability for users to take advantage of all the system’s offerings.

The Challenge

Form Simplicity contained a myriad of customizations, state-specific forms, and libraries that had to be scaled and accounted for given the varying types of members it supported. Additionally, the association recognized that realtors and brokers spend a significant amount of their time in the field, rather than sitting at their desk. Because of this, not only was it crucial to improve upon the usability of the existing system, but it was necessary to create a responsive application.

Goals

Overall, the key goal was to streamline the user experience and create a system that was much more intuitive across all devices. The back-end was quite robust, and it was our job to bring the look & feel up to part with the quality of its underlying tools. If we could achieve this, we also hoped to see a reduction in customer services support costs as well as technical debt.

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The Process & Sucess


We began by conducting competitive analysis and speaking with stakeholders throughout Florida Realtors to gain an understanding of their expectations and goals. We spoke with help desk analysts, marketing coordinators, high-ranking members of the technology services team, programmers, and analysts, among others. Through their feedback, we were able to refine the goals of the project and uncover technological complications and limitations that were not immediately apparent.

Following the stakeholder interviews, we spoke to existing Form Simplicity users. These one-on-one sessions were aimed to answer where the downfalls of the current system exist, what features were utilized most frequently, and gain a better understanding for how realtors were completing these transactions within and outside of the application.

These interviews took a number of forms. In addition to completing several remote interviews, the Iteration Group team traveled to San Diego for the National Association of Realtors conference in 2015 in order to get face-to-face time with current and prospective Form Simplicity users. At the conference, we were able to speak at length with users, as well as conduct user testing sessions on the existing system to understand where users’ frustrations lied primarily.

We received resounding approval and praise for the updates to Form Simplicity by its members, most noting that it was a significant improvement over the current system.Through our user interviews, we were able to identify a navigational structure that significantly limited the number of primary navigation elements, that also used language that was more relevant and appropriate for realtors. We were able to reduce the number of primary navigation items from 12 to 6 by intelligently grouping related elements--e.g. active and archived transactions--and creating an unobtrusive subnavigation and utilizing filters rather than bifurcating content.

Original Unresponsive Application - Prior to Redesign
NAR 2015 Conference - photo by Featured Attendee, Matt Difanis.
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