Private Property is well known and respected online property portal. Measuring as one of South Africa’s leading websites, they have been tirelessly working on improving and optimizing the experience on the site.

In 2012 a new wave of management had taken place in the company and it was time for a new look as well as philosophy in the experience.


  • Bringing the user closer to the agent
  • The site should inspire and allow people to aspire to a better future
  • Site should be more scalable and be hosted in the cloud

Strong visuals were used to work on the aspirations. The talents from ModX were used to architecturally plan and execute (along with the very competent team at Private Property) the new technical framework.


Lots of time was spent assessing the future of the web and were it is all alluding to, from an experience point of view. Sites (such as Airbnb, Disqus, and many more) inspired the design. However, the answers to the actual functional interactions was in the history of Private Property and the statistics from millions of page impressions.


Along with the web stats, Private Property also had market research giving us direct feedback from users (and non-users) to help determine major decision making. Some of the User Experience Design tools used, included:

  • Profile & persona development: a total number of 9 different profiles emerged from the exercise. Historically, Private Property was very focused on delivering to buyers only. With the addition of estate agents and the success of the rentals on the site, it was decided to cater to all their needs. The personas assisted with the decisions being made for the various functions.
  • Task flow analysis: from the personas we also started cataloging and assessing each task and flow. This led to some revelations in prioritizing for the site navigation, content placement and overall design.
  • ClickTale heat-maps: the playback of different user sessions on the website was able to us how the users interacted with the results and details pages. The feedback led to very refined and detailed results page. Careful attention was given to each element in the options the users can choose and how the options are categorized.

Conclusion & Feedback

The site has been received well from social media circles; it is too soon to tell the effects the changes had on the user experience.