Apartments.com: A Heuristic Evaluation

Apartments.com: A Heuristic Evaluation - student project

About

Apartments.com is a website used for finding apartments/housing that is specifically catered to your wants and needs. It is supposed to make renting and searching simple

Data

Apartments.com: A Heuristic Evaluation - image 1 - student project

  • Con: Users who are not comfortable or adept at reading maps may find this huge map section to be overwhelming and perhaps not helpful. All the green markers shown for EVERY apartment available may show the plethora of options, but can appear messy and clustered.

     

    • Pro: I like how when you hover over the apartment on the sidebar, the green marker it is represented by turns a different color, which clearly indicates where it is located on the map. I also like how all actions can be performed on this one page as it aids my short term memory and gives me the security that actions can be easily done or undone without the page changing.

    • Con: I find that I have to look for the customization section because it takes up a small space in comparison to everything else.

    • Pro: It appears simplistic to my eye to see 5 customization buttons, followed by the “More” button, and thus less overwhelming to use, rather than listing out every option which could appear the opposite.

      Apartments.com: A Heuristic Evaluation - image 2 - student project
      • Pro: I like how the map and apartments listed below the customization bar updates as the features are updated, it feels satisfying and calming that my actions are being seen, heard, and registered and it gives me this sense of control and ease.

      Insights and Improvements

      Apartment.com’s goal is to ensure clients an experience that is easy, accessible, and usable when finding they’re new home. From the area map, to the feature customization bar, to the apartment choices with corresponding images, their interface design presents actions and characteristics for apartment finding all on one page which frees users of the burden and anxiety of short term memory, feelings that can arise when searching for and comparing their multiple options.

      Despite this effort in providing ease and comfort through presenting all features in one page, an client/user new to experiencing Apartments.com may find this immediate presentation to be overwhelming, overloaded, and confusing. Rather than providing an experience in a logical process that is intuitive and simplistic, the inexperienced user has to take the time to study the page and learn the actions and cues for completing their goals.

      Also, by providing all option in one page, it does not give users the experience that Apartments.com is taking the time and care to cater the search to them.

      I would suggest Apartments.com to still keep their idea of an interface design that aids their user short term memory, but edit the proportion of the map to the apartment listings to the customization bar. Less map, more space for apartment listing and customization bar. Also, as an English speaker, I read from left to right and so having the map placed on the left side draws my attention to there first, and then I am in a state of, “What do I do with this map, if I am supposed to do anything at all with it?”

      I would also suggest a methodical step by step initial customization process accompanied with “Next” buttons as it will present users with less options, thus it is easier to the mind, and a more intuitive experience as to what actions to perform in order to progress to their app goals.