Property search engine Globrix launched an updated version of its mobile website this week, with some extra functionality for iPhone users.

Rival Rightmove also has a mobile version of its property search engine, so I’ve been looking at the two mobile sites (on an iPhone) to see how the user experience compares…

Homepage / search box

Both homepages are basic, partly because both sites have been designed to be usable on as many mobile devices as possible. This is no bad thing though, as users will just want to get on with their property search.

The Globrix homepage is simple enough; users select buy or rent, enter the postcode, street, town etc, then search for available properties. It has one advantage over Rightmove for iPhone users as it can find your current location via GPS and deliver results within a specified distance.

Globrix mobile homepage

Rightmove’s homepage:

Rightmove mobile homepage

Advanced search options

After the initial query, both sites provide advanced search options, which are needed to narrow down the number of results that users have to look through.

Rightmove’s mobile site takes you straight to these sorting and filtering options, and allows you to search by price range, type of property, search radius and number of bedrooms. All good, though the search / call to action button should be made clearer:

Rightmove mobile advanced search options

On the Globrix site, you need to select the advanced search options from the results page, and provides roughly the same options:

Globrix mobile

What it does do better than Rightmove is to make it easier to add and remove search filters from the results page, so if you apply them then have too few results, you can select the filter and alter it easily:

Globrix - adjust search filter

Results pages

Here’s the Globrix results page, which is clear enough, but the Google ads just above the listings get in the way, and could be clicked by accident, since they are in the same text size and colour as the property links:

Globrix mobile property search results

Here’s the Rightmove results page, same information as the Globrix site, though it only shows five properties per page, so it’s necessary to load more pages to see more: 

Property listings

The Globrix property pages contain a decent size photo, as well as basic details about the property. To get more details or contact the estate agent advertising the property, there is a link to their website, though this means users will be sent to some sites which have not been optimised for mobile users.

Gkobrix property page

The location of the property is also highlighted on Google Maps, with the option to open Google Maps on the iPhone and get directions:

The Rightmove pages contain much the same information, and unlike Globrix, provides more photos of each property, though they are a bit too small to be much use:

Rightmove property page

Instead of sending users to the estate agent’s website, it provides the option to request a callback, email the details for later, or to call the estate agent direct, much easier than having to find these details on a separate site.

Conclusion

Both sites are relatively basic for the iPhone, but do a decent job of returning relevant results and allowing users to customise their searches. Thanks to the GPS functionality, and the more usable filtering options, the Globrix mobile site just shades it, for iPhone users at least.

However, it could improve by providing contact details to find out more about the property on the listings page, rather than forcing users to got to the estate agent’s website on the their mobiles.