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Guest Starring Proejct

Search Region Editor


A solution to utilize our local agents' expertise to improve search results on




October 2020

Product Designer

5 weeks

Skills involved

• Guest starring on a new product

• Collaboration with a new team

• Designing a brand new tool with a complex flow


About the company Redfin and it's product area

Redfin is the top 3 real estate websites in the United States. Redfin's product team has two areas, a customer-facing product Redfin app and, where I am at, and an internal-facing tool to help our real estate agents' workflow.

I was the sole product designer on the User Growth Efficiency team in Seattle for 11 months. My team is responsible for the Redfin Homepage, Landing pages, SEO related pages, etc. I worked closely with the PMs, Engineering Manager, and 8 developers to accelerate the growth by creating better experiences to help home-buyers and home-sellers find or sell their homes.

The Search Region Editor project was actually from the customer side. But the solution ended up being on the internal side. Hence I was able to guest-stare on the brand new area, collaborating with a new team.

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The problem

The search failure is much higher in some markets

Markets launched in 2006-2008 have about half as many unique visitors as our largest search competitor, Zillow, while markets launched after 2009 are only about a fifth as many.


To understand why they are growing more slowly, we analyzed differences in traffic, user behavior, marketing, data and product. In addition to quantitative analysis, we picked 6 markets for in-depth review. We interviewed 13 market managers or agents and 10 customers, surveyed 2066 site users, and manually compared the search experience on Redfin’s site with top competitors (Zillow, Realtor) and major local sites (HAR).

We learned that the core problem is our product quality is meaningfully worse in these markets, which includes:

The problem.jpg
To build a tool for agents to make changes to the search regions on

Project Goal



Before starting on a new product area, I prepared myself by doing these 3 things

Design process

Keep iterating on the design, frequently getting feedback from all skateholders

Because of the complexity of this tool, we went through tons of reviews and design critiques with designers, PMs, Agents, and Market Managers.

We explored a lot of options and validated them. The design process was like a loop where we were getting better.

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To know more about the problem and potential solutions

Defining the scope

The most frequently arisen question: Do we need this feature?

An important lesson I learned from this project is to define the scope beforehand. Most of the time we can't shoot for the perfect and complete product. What we should do is to figure out the roadmap and set up the scope of this version.


Design principles

What are the principles to guide design decisions?

Set up and prioritize the design principles of a project early is a lesson I learned from Redfin designers. They are the reasons behind the design decisions.

The Search Region Editor is a tool for agents to manually correct problems with the search region on 

Taking the users and situation into consideration, here are the 3 principles that guide all design decisions.

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Design Iterations

Learned how to get valuable feedback and deal with the others

Because of the complexity of this tool, we went through tons of reviews and design critiques with designers, PMs, Agents and Market Managers.


Getting feedback is a big part of a designer's daily life. It's important to learn how to get valuable feedback and handle others.

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How to deliver the complex flow to engineers clearly

Mapping out every single flow for all user groups like below helps me figure out all the edge cases and error states.

For the map editing flow, I found it hard to explain with the flow chart, so I used the prototype video with side notes. You can find the video at the bottom of this page. Enjoy =)

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