Reporting ZapLabs’ 2018 UX Research Findings

Sanjana Surkund Jan 25, 2019 • 3 min read

In December 2018, the ZapLabs UX research team created our first annual report—  reviewing the past year’s accomplishments and their impact on Zap and the lives of the agents we serve. We decided to create an annual report because we wanted to share and widen the scope of our research findings with not only the Zap product team, but also with Realogy as a whole. Putting this report together was a highly collaborative process for the research team. We had a lot of fun reflecting on the year, tracking our impact, and celebrating our wins and learnings!

But what does the UX research team do?

In brief, our team analyzes user feedback and conducts studies to develop a deeper understanding of users, their behaviors and their needs more broadly as well as in particular areas related to products and services in the real estate space. Our mission is to increase the quality of Realogy’s product and service experiences through first-class UX research. Every research team member independently works on projects at all stages of product development, from generating new product ideas to testing existing designs and evaluating the impact of redesigns. We partner closely with cross-functional teams that include designers, product managers, business stakeholders, engineers, and others that focus on key product verticals. We provide them user context through both tactical research, which is product-specific research conducted within the product development cycle, and foundational research, which helps us learn about the behaviors and needs of real estate professionals.

2018 UX research highlights

One of our big strategic research projects from 2018 was the agent journey map: a synthesis of more than two years of research. Collaborating closely across brands and business units, we were able to capture the key actions, questions, and product offerings spanning the entire career of an agent. This journey map was used in strategic planning for our product and set the tone for the idea of our end-to-end platform.

Another 2018 initiative was cross-functionally led research projects. We wanted to give our product managers and product designers the ability to conduct research like usability tests and competitive analyses without having to wait for the user research team. By providing them with best practices on methodologies from our research toolkit, we were able to guide them through the process so they could obtain targeted and well-defined user feedback on their own. In 2018, we completed 37 of these cross-functional research projects! We’ve also broadened our scope to include more business stakeholders this past year and look forward to doing more of this in 2019.

Last year, we also launched field visits! We gathered cross-functional groups including designers, product managers, and engineers and took them into the field to shadow agents and experience a day-in-the-life of our users. Our colleagues were able to see firsthand what it’s like to be our user, how they use our product, and tangibly understand user needs and pain points. We launched this initiative in the summer of 2018 and completed 13 field visits. We’re excited to take many more of our colleagues out to the field in 2019!

While there’s so much more we covered in our report than what we can share here, we’ll leave you with the highlights above. Feel free to view our 2-minute recap video here. Overall, our research positively impacted Zap by making our users more engaged and productive. We hope to continue evolving our practices in 2019 and look forward to delivering continued impact!

Sanjana Surkund

Sanjana is a UX researcher at ZapLabs. She does research that helps her team better understand user needs and also works with product managers, product designers, business stakeholders, and other groups using various qualitative research methods to help improve the user experience of the product.