You may not have realised that in the UK, housing associations are not government departments but are in fact ran and funded by private, not for profit organisations. These organisations are tasked with providing low-cost social housing for people who find themselves without a home and for people in search of shared ownership properties.
As a leading developer of responsive websites for housing associations, Nvisage have engaged in extensive research into what people need and want when visiting their housing association via the web. We ran extensive multi-source research with different stake-holders that included resident workshops, user testing and feedback sessions.
What stood out was ‘less is more’. To create the best User Journey people want intuitive, easy to use navigation and decisive call to actions with clear accessibility.
The research also showed that the majority of web users that accessed housing associations online wanted to use the website to search for properties in their area. And that users in this demographic favoured mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets over desktop computers.
When thinking about search functionality, we decided a custom property search needed to be developed. This widget needed to display all the properties on the system in a custom way and provide full compatibility with the Rightmove website and also the housing associations’ property management tools.
The ‘rise of the tablet’ should not be news to most of us when we consider how many of us use them daily. In 2012 tablet sales were equal to 63% of the laptops. At its current growth the tablet market is projected to surpass laptop sales by the end of year, a staggering 230 million are due to be sold world-wide in 2013.
Considering this phenomena it won’t surprise you that when Nvisage developed new websites for the housing associations Southern Housing Group, Talk 2 Waterloo and Moat Housing Association all of the sites were developed with Responsive web design (RWD) in mind. Using this fluid grid method provides the optimum viewing experience for end users by responding to what device is being used and scaling the content accordingly and displaying it correctly.
Also given the experience Nvisage have of Responsive website design and development for housing associations when Curo Group Housing Association, one of the West Country’s leading Housing Associations required a single integrated website to replace five previous websites, Nvisage were chosen to help.
To find out more about the User Experience Research we have been doing with Housing Associations, visit the Nvisage website where you can read more in our Showcase section.