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User-centered Design At Trulia

At Trulia we have a set of values we work by with the acronym “IMPACT“. The “C” stands for Customer-obsessed. As Trulia grows we continue to ramp up our dedication to that particular value. We’ve found that the best way to successfully evolve our offerings is to always keep listening to the folks who use our site and mobile products. This is not a novel idea to be sure, but there is a lot more to it than meets the eye. Here are some ways Trulia stays in tune with our site visitors and customers.

We have selected a group we call the “Expert User Panel” that are representative of the type of people who use real estate search the most and are avid power users. These folks are very opinionated and outspoken and are not afraid to keep us honest as we pitch new ideas for features, concepts and designs. We meet with them regularly, and building this longitudinal relationship with them has been extremely valuable to us as we continue to understand what features are most important in real estate search.

In addition to making sure our consumer experience is solid, we are actively seeking to improve our offerings to real estate professionals. Toward this end we have established an ongoing panel with these folks to insure we are growing our set of offerings with their needs in mind.

User interviews

There are times at the early stages of product development that we need some quick input. We have great relationships with users who are always willing to get a call from us asking “whatif?” or “what would work for you?” We also bring in mobile users on a regular basis to gather their needs.

Usability tests

This is where we bring folks into our office and watch them use the potential new feature. Based on what we find we modify the product before rolling out to the world. No matter how cool a feature we think we are building, it does not matter if folks can’t use it!


In addition to the rich info we get from in-person or over the phone engagements, we also use surveys to help us validate/invalidate assumptions. With surveys you can reach more people and achieve a level of statistical significance that’s not possible in panels or usability tests.

Customer Satisfaction (CSat)

We use a tool that constantly receives input from users on how they like our site. In addition to an overall CSat score we have a breakdown on how we are doing on variables from navigation to site information. This helps us decide, at a more quantitative level, what parts of the site need the most attention.

Ethnographic user research

This sounds scientific but what it really means is spending time with the folks who use our products in the field. For example, it’s one thing to bring folks into the lab, but you get a more realistic look at how customers behave when you go where they are. This year Trulia has a lot planned in this area. This is the type of thing that sometimes gives you the “Aha!” moment. “So that’s what they do… we could build a product to make it much more simple for them”.

Even the most customer-centric companies have room for improvement and Trulia is no exception. Please know that we will always do the best we can to build our product based your needs and be proactive in letting you know about changes to the web site that may affect the way you browse or do business. Our relationship with you is of utmost importance!

How to talk with Trulia

We’d love to hear from you. If you would like to let us know how we are doing please drop us a line.