About the Applicant
Redfin (www.redfin.com) is a technology-powered real estate broker that represents people buying and selling homes. Founded and run by technologists, Redfin has a team of experienced, full-service real estate agents who are advocates, not sales-people, earning customer-satisfaction bonuses, not commissions. Redfin.com features all the broker-listed homes for sale, as well as for-sale-by-owner properties that don't pay brokers a commission. Redfin also offers online tools that make the entire process of buying or selling a home easier and more fun. The company serves 23 U.S. markets and has closed more than $13 billion in home sales. In 2012, Redfin was named one of The DIGITAL 100: World's Most Valuable Private Tech Companies by Business Insider.
Our CEO asked us a question early on that helped shape how we thought about the design process: “What would the application look and feel like if you never had to leave a single screen?” When creating an app for a touch-screen device, such as the iPad, it wasn’t enough to create a static mock-up. We needed to simulate how it would feel in your hand while you were using it. Did it track your finger at just the right rate? How did we handle transitions from screen to screen? With the iPad, we had a device with significantly more screen real estate, and we wanted to make sure we were putting that to good use. We started with several proof-of-concept technical demos because even canned animations weren’t enough to connect the use with what the final experience would feel like in our hands. Our lead product manager walked around with these demos for months, showing them off to agents, executives, and friends. We knew we had nailed the design when everyone who played with it came away with a smile on their faces.
If we had just looked at other Real Estate Apps, the final product would have been markedly different. We turned to other applications that were pushing the envelope at the time to see what inspired us. News readers, weather applications, social network “feeds,” and mapping applications all factored in. We would take screenshots of the concepts we liked, print them out, and create mood boards for inspiration. It was very organic, and since we didn’t already have an iPad app out there, it allowed us the creative liberty to take risks we might have otherwise not pursued. We wanted the app to have a sense of fun, to feel different than anything else out there in the space, and the resulting "sliding panels" concept of our iPad app really shines.
With our iPhone app, we take advantage of a geo-fencing, a feature built into the operating system. It’s location and context aware, so we can tell one of our customers when a nearby home they have favorited is having an open house that they might be interested in. The app will buzz your pocket, and give you detailed turn by turn directions on how to get there. Being in the real estate space, we’re in a unique position that we straddle the virtual world with the physical, and making it easy for a user to see a home in person becomes very important.
Going out to tour a home can be a pain. That process is long, drawn out, and fraught with scheduling mishaps and miscommunications. So, we've set out to make the process easier and more direct. You can request an in-person home tour with a Redfin Agent right from your iPhone or iPad. Now, when you see a home that you think will go fast, you can request a free, no-obligation tour with a Redfin Agent as easily as ordering a pizza. Seven days a week, virtually every day of the year, Redfin customers are going to be able to move faster — scheduling a tour with the first available Redfin Agent in just a few taps.
With our iPad app, we wanted to take advantage of the device’s extra screen real estate to create an experience where you didn’t have to switch back and forth between screens. Instead of just creating a bigger version of our existing iPhone app, we decided to rethink the way our iPad app is laid out to best take advantage of its big screen.