A Q&A on the future of Property Finder products, including what’s new with user research, data security, and the meaning of mobility.
It’s been a very busy first half of the year for the Product team. What is a recent launch you are most excited about? How does it help clients?
We’ve invested a lot in user research this year with the clear objective to better understand behaviours and the interests of our audiences. This will massively help us improve the user experience and as a consequence increase engagement with our site. What does user research mean? It can be divided into two distinct parts: the first is quantitative and data-driven and allows us to model and analyse behavioural patterns.
The second is more qualitative. We bring some of our users to our office to interview them, ask them about their experience with our products and watch them whilst they are using the site. This helps us get some perspective on what matters to them. One of the biggest findings for our team was that user experience is not just about the platform or the website, it’s about the entire journey.
Our two most recent consumer tools are about helping with more parts of that journey and empowering our users with data-driven tools, allowing them to make the right decisions for them. Our Rent vs Buy Calculator compares the total cost of renting with the total cost of buying based on how long you plan to stay in the UAE. Click for more. While House Prices allows you to search and compare asking prices, transaction prices and rental yields by community. Check your community now.
What are the latest trends, either in real estate or tech, that you are keeping an eye on?
Mobility is a megatrend that we are actively pursuing but still remains largely underexploited by our industry. Imagine that you are looking for an apartment and you’re riding through Dubai Marina. We could engage with you in a much more dynamic way and prompt you with available units near you or allow you to engage with agents that are currently in the area.
On top of mobility, it is important to mention another megatrend: personalisation. By that I mean that the more we know about your preferences as a home seeker, the more we will be able to present you with the most relevant content. If we know your preferences and where you’re looking to live, we can serve you relevant content on the go. Interacting with consumers on the go is one of the most exciting opportunities in our industry.
Data security has been huge in the news (Cambridge Analytica’s potentially criminal actions, GDPR preparedness, the mainstreaming of AI, etc.). How does data security influence the approach you take to the products that get built at Property Finder?
We care immensely about our data, but we care more about our users. This means that personal information is treated with extreme care and to the highest policy standards for privacy protection. For more, read our article about big data, who uses what and is it legal?
What is one example of a Property Finder product that is promoting transparency in the market?
Agent profiles with transaction data. As part of our mission to empower users in their decision-making, as well as to promote and empower the best-performing agents, we believe that the agent profile in the Find Agent section of propertyfinder.ae is a great way to move the ball forward. Making transaction data public is market-leading, and brings more transparency to the market, allows the best agents to promote their work, and demonstrates the value they bring. It also gives users more insight into what’s going on and who’s who in the marketplace.
What’s your proudest achievement to date in 2018?
Getting engaged! Work-wise, my proudest achievement has been to see how the innovation teams have evolved as we scaled and have adopted some core principles into their day to day.
At Property Finder we work hard to put the customers at the centre of what we do. When you grow fast, this can become a challenge. That’s why we believe that in order to serve our customers best, we need to empower the people that are the closest to them on a day-to-day basis. In that sense, we have adopted new ways to operationalise our strategies and are empowering cross-functional teams (for example, from Tech, Marketing, and Operations) to make data-driven decisions without always having to get approval from management.
By Alex Miauton
Chief Product Officer, Property Finder Group
This article was originally published in Property Finder Trends, Vol 4. Click here to read the full report online or download the PDF.