Product Critique: Zillow Mobile App

Harpreet Vishnoi
4 min readMay 8, 2023

What is Zillow?

Their website defines it as “The leading real estate marketplace. Search millions of for-sale and rental listings, compare Zestimate® home values and connect with local professionals.”

I was using their iOS mobile app and found some difficulties in the overall UI/UX and thought about sharing my views.

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  1. Map View and List View both have different features which make them complementary tools in finding houses. This increases user effort.

a. When the user clicks on the purple dot they can swipe houses near to each other. There is no way to sort the houses based on the price, square feet, etc. This means Map View offers users the ability to find a house near their point of reference which could be their office, children’s school or college. If a user want to find the cheapest house near their point of reference using Map View they have to zoom and manually look over all the listing. (Huge manual effort). Here, finding the cheap house is a variable it can be replaced by any other factor like number of bedrooms, bathroom, year of built, availiblity date, etc.

b. List View offers users the ability to find a house by sorting them in accordance to rent, year since built, bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. But if a user want to find a cheap house within 5 km radius of their office or point of reference that can’t be done with List View.

c. Having 4 button or clickable UI elements on top makes the interface seem bulky. There are List, Search bar, geolocation and filter elements on it. Due to the less screen size on mobile, put 4 elements can lead to incorrect clicks due to fat finger problem. I myself did it more than twice.

Zillow Top Bar
Compare top menu bar in Airbnb

d. Save Search feature has 3 different UI pattern. On Map View it is present on the top right in a circular element fashion, in List View it is present in bottom right in textual fashion and in the search functionality it has a combination of element + text. This repetition of the same feature in different visual aspect makes it less intriguing. I would ideally stick to a single placement for Save Search across both view to make it more standard.

e. The current apartment rental search feature lacks the ability to filter the houses by the average per room rent for individuals searching for a rental apartment together. This creates a problem for users who intend to live together in a group to minimize the overall rent. When using the filter to search for apartments with a variable number of bedrooms, from studio to 4+ bedrooms, the user has no way of filtering out the average rent per room.

For instance, if the user has a budget of $800 for rent, they may find apartments in a listing that charge $1200 for a studio, $1800 for a 2-bedroom apartment, or $3000 for a 4-bedroom apartment. The listing price of $3000 for a 4-bedroom apartment translates to $750 per room, which the user can afford. However, if the rent is calculated overall on the house, the user will see listings for 2-bedroom or 3-bedroom apartments for $3000, which the price-sensitive user cannot afford.

f. Notification permissions is asked to early on when the user sign-ups without giving any context why is it important for the user. Better place to ask such a request would be when the user does Save Search. Using Save Search user can be notified that in order to receive latest listing for their searches user should “Allow” notifications.

g. Other than that the app crashes every 20 minutes maybe there is a memory leak in the app.

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Harpreet Vishnoi

Carnegie Mellon University| Product Manager | AI Developer