Develop so users cannot get it wrong

Michael Motivational, PropTech, Real Estate, Trends

Today I came across another common scenario where information being entered into a system is not being displaying as expected. The user went on to email support who subsequently emailed the development agency to correct. The response was one that I see all too often and in 2018 should really be a mentality of the past.

The problem was a common age-old issue that anyone in Estate Agency who has developed websites, created a brochure or sent a property to a portal would know. Portrait images and images that are not the ‘right’ ratio. For a time in the industry there was strong opposition to using PORTRAIT images for properties. Surely being a property, it should be taken in the LANDSCAPE mode was the all too familiar argument from the Technical and sometime Marketing departments, often themselves hobbyist photographers.

The other argument was that you need to show what is on either side of a property to make sure it represents the property correctly. This is a great argument however, there is normally more than one image of the property, and can you imagine trying to show the London Shard in a Landscape image, or the 5th floor of an apartment. Sometimes you need to just ignore the rule book and do what’s best at the time.

But before I go of on another tangent let’s bring this back to the real issue. Should a user need to know every limitation of a system before using it? Can you imagine the training and knowledge needed before letting anyone loose on the system? Does a negotiator really need to know about image size, quality and ratios? Would sitting in the lounge of a potential Owner or Landlord talking about Ratios of images help them sell or let a property? Surely it would be better to develop so that anyone can open your system, methodically and systematically working through what they need to achieve without ever having to have training.

Before I get too may GASPS of horror have a think about it. If you have a license, you could probably get into any car and drive it. You get updates to your Apple or Android phone and never read the manual, you probably never read it to start with! You can operate a Sky / Virgin box, or even go to a hotel and navigate your way around their entertainment systems ALL without any training. This is exactly the mentality we should be using when developing and designing systems. They have all considered their UI/UX and thought the process through. I for one would avoid a hotel that required an induction before check-in!

So when I got copied in on the response from the development agency asking the user to upload the correct aspect ratio image, I GASPED in horror. It’s not up to a user to get it right.

“You need to develop so the user cannot get it wrong”

A quick Google from them would have provided multiple solutions that explain how to constrain / expand an image to a container and hide the overflow. Implementing this originally would have meant this entire case would never have happened and the user would have been none the wiser.

So my plea for 2018 not just to PropTech developers but to all agencies is to please, consider the user and develop so that they cannot get it wrong. Walk them through the journey and they can focus on what they are meant to be doing rather than following the rules of a complex system.

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Michael is a Technology & Digital Consultant to the Real Estate, Property, Travel and Tourism industies with over 13 Years of leading Technical teams & Programme Management. He has worked with agencies in multiple countries and cities from the UK, New York, Russia, France, Dubai to Australia and South Africa. In his spare time he is a commercial drone pilot that dabbles with Photography & Videography.

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