What Price, Beauty?

Inside Redfin

What Price, Beauty?

Well look at that! The Redfin design team made our site red! This morning we launched a site completely redesigned to be more spacious and lively.

Redfin Website Redesign

Last December, we re-designed the Redfin property pages so pictures are 35% bigger, and pages load 31% faster. That effort got into the guts of the page, organizing details about each property into blocks and tables for easy scanning. The challenge there was the sheer volume of information we have about each property: as a broker, we have far more complete, local data about every home for sale than any other major site. But the property page’s color palette and style remained the same, so how the site felt didn’t change much.

Now across the whole site, the header is red, not blue. The background is white. We took out a bunch of lines, shadows and tints so you can focus on what you came to Redfin to see: all the pretty houses. We hope this conveys what we like best about Redfin as a company: the simplicity of our mission to change the real estate game in consumers’ favor, the brightness of the people here, the love we have for what we do.

This wasn’t easy. As Andrew Fischler, one of the lead designers on this project, writes in our developers’ blog about the effort:

What’s harder, cooking a great meal from scratch, or taking a bunch of leftovers and making a meal that tastes better than the original?

For all the frameworks software developers use to separate form from function, complete redesigns are less common now than they were a decade ago because of the sheer size and complexity of most websites, the proliferation of mobile devices that also have to be updated, the emphasis on frequently releasing smaller updates, and the metrics-driven approach for assessing the benefit of every update.

We decided on a site redesign all the same because we have to worry about a metric that’s impossible to measure: whether your days and nights on Redfin give you reason to trust that this company can represent you in the purchase or sale of a home. Despite ample, indisputable evidence of our rapid growth, we constantly hear that how people choose real estate agents won’t change because it’s an emotional process.

We agree that it’s emotional; we just happen to  think the experience of using a website or an iPhone application can be emotional too, especially when it’s as beautiful as Redfin now is. Many thanks to Andrew Fischler, Andy Taylor, Robert Law, Wei-Ting Lu, Iga Zyzanska, Eric Gideon, and the other designers, developers and test engineers — did I mention that changing every page on the site results in a sprawling, seething bug farm? — for your vision, perspicacity and hell-for-leather drive. When I walked out of the office over the last few months and still saw your lights burning, I knew this had become, like so many projects at Redfin, a labor of love.

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