Manning Stainton visit the Site Doctor

What’s in the video?

Manning Stainton’s site is simple, bold and honest.  The agency is powerful and straightforward, yet there is a strong desire and drive to use technology and open up information for the applicants, vendors and landlords alike.  In sum: there’s a lot to like.  So in this video our resident site doctor digs deeper – to highlight a few ideas and some structural fixes, which would take the site from great, to properly world class.

We hope you enjoy it:

Summary Prescription:

The site has a strong focus on vendors, which is great.

The design whilst, powerful, bold and “honest” feeling, could do with some attention to design consistency (and perhaps modernity in places), stripping of some of the busyness and bittyness, and harmonising the style sheets (links, buttons etc. have multiple styles, probably evolving over time).  The other general point would be to focus on the “information architecture / hierarchy” of each page, in places the differentiation between the top task, and the secondary and tertiary tasks of each page, is a bit “level”, creating a busy page, with multiple messages competing for attention with one another – this is an easy fix.

There are lots of ideas to improve the property search pathway and improve the property details page.  Principally we explore the “results within list” presentation of properties, and the pros and cons that affords.

The speed of the site is fine.  Good actually.  Though obviously it’s always possible to crank it up and go faster.  However, there no serious issues here.

The SEO of the site was really interesting, and had the doctor reaching for his medical texts.  You have at least 3 different “branch” pages of a sort.  Locations, for sale, to rent, living around, etc.  We think this is causing domain authority to be divided throughout the site.  In any case, the site isn’t ranking particularly well, so we believe it would be well worth consolidating link equity and the target pages.  Leaving SEO to one side, it was confusing for users too, and that’s always a sign of over optimisation, which gets punished these days.

On contact pathways, there were lots of opportunities to unify the styling of calls to action, expose contact forms, reduce or eliminate the usage of mailtos: etc.

And finally, in the arena of user profiles.  There is obviously huge effort going into creating user logged in areas, with all sorts of trackers, well unified etc.  However, we think it may be a case of running before you can walk.  We would recommend stripping this back and get the foundation of the “on ramps” to registration working cleanly in the first place.  Until you have a solid foundation, building castles on top of it is a misdirection in our view.  Again, these are all easy fixes, but we really would recommend getting the basics in place, then building methodically to a unified view of the customer.  Once you have that, you’ll be able to get the (now much wider) base of user intelligence, syncing with your software in a far more powerful fashion.

We hope you find the video useful.

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