Previous month:
June 2007
Next month:
August 2007

Map-based MLS Search widget integration - the right way

Continuing our case studies of the best RealBird implementations, I review two sites, which demonstrate innovative and effective ways of integrating the RealBird Map-based Search widget into their overall user experience.

SeattleHome.com

SeattleHome.com screen shot

What we like:

  • Deep integration in terms of content and graphical design
    The site has a consistent overall look and the RealBird service is an integrated part of it, across the whole site. The second option of the quick search methods on the homepage is powered by the RealBird Map-based Search service and the clean design drives user interaction to the desired result the fastest way possible. This is user experience engineering at its best.
  • Separate map-based search widgets for all cities
    The site is fully utilizing one of the key feature of our map-based search widget, i.e., the option to set up multiple maps for a certain geographic locations or search criteria. Every major neighborhood served has it's own "quick search" page for searching by price, searching by map and market stats.

The service is using the NWMLS IDX feed.

See it for yourself

1SiliconValley.com

Steve Leung is using his popular real estate blog as the front end for his online real estate presence. This is a new trend among real estate websites and I believe this is where the industry is heading. Using a blogging platform with regularly updated hyper-local content delivers search engine traffic and provides information as a real, distinct value for visitors (vs. static, canned content pages of regular websites). Blogging platforms also enable collaboration with home buyers, sellers and prospects via comments and widgets and therefore significantly increases the user engagement. That eventually leads to better lead conversion. Steve integrates the RealBird Map-based Search widget as the MLS search tool under the "Search Inventory of Homes". I love the simple but highly effective content design and the no non-sense approach to providing the value for home buyers and seller without overloading the site with irrelevant stuff and canned content. It's focused and that 's why it works.

1SiliconValley.com screen shot

Both of the above examples demonstrate another feature of the RealBird Map-based Search service: RealBird works nicely with other IDX vendors.  Both Brian and Steve have set up the RealBird service in a way that  the "More Info" link in the property's popup window leads to the IDX property detail page provided via their existing IDX vendor. Having such set up utilizes the easy-to-use, advanced user experience the RealBird Map-based Search widget provides, while providing more functionalities via the IDX backend (such as full details, property and search saving and notification services.) I think such integration of the full search cycle creates a perfect combination for great user experience.

The service is using the REIL IDX feed..

---

We are interested in your way of integrating the RealBird service into your blog and website. If you think, you are utilizing the service in a unique and effective way, drop us a email or leave a comment below. We'd love to hear your success stories and to feature your site.

-- Zoltan Szendro
RealBird.com

Sign up for a RealBird Map-based Search trial or request MLS coverage here

or try the RealBird Listing Publisher - our next generation online listing marketing tool, with syndication and advanced listing presentation features


Luxurious San Diego

We have released a new luxury real estate portal with Windermere Exclusive Properties for the San Diego real estate market. If you are in the market for multi million dollar homes or just curious, visit the portal to see the daily updated list of single family homes and condos mapped on full screen street, aerial and topo maps. The interface is very easy to use and you can get RSS notification of new luxury homes listed within your selected map extent.

LuxurySanDiegoEstates.com

Luxury San Diego Estates

The Google Maps based MLS portal is a service of Windermere Exlcusive Properties of San Diego, CA. The service focuses on the luxury real estate market of San Diego county, including high-end markets such as La Jolla, Coronado, Rancho Santa Fe etc. The listings are from the local Sandicor MLS and the database of luxury single family homes and condos is updated daily. See it in action here

-- Zoltan Szendro

RealBird Inc.


Facebook sharing, real-time traffic, 3D flyovers, translations

We have released several updates for the RealBird Publisher property website builder and distribution service:

Market your property via your Facebook network

Your visitors and you can now share your property on Facebook; one of the fastest growing social networking site with over 25 million users. A neat feature of the Facebook sharing platform is that you can automatically post the photos and the property description without the need to re-enter them. Just click the "Share on Facebook" link, login to your Facebook account, add some optional comment and submit the form. Your listing will show up on your Facebook profile immediately for your network to see.

Real-time traffic overlay for the Google Maps

We also updated the embedded Google Maps service with Google's real-time traffic overlay. While the coverage is limited to major metropolitan areas at this time, it is a great add-on for your visitors who are planning to take a drive and would like to see the traffic conditions around your property.

Updated private-labeled driving directions service

We also updated your branded, private-labeled driving directions service with the latest Microsoft Virtual Earth technology. The new interface now supports 3D, terrain flyover's for both Internet Explorer and Firefox (on Windows). Your visitors can create driving directions to your property and visualize it on street map, satellite photo and on 3D maps. The printed driving directions also show your photo and contact information.

Property information in 10 additional languages

Every property website can now be automatically translated into 10 additional languages by your visitors. The translation is powered by Google's automated translation service and while it is not perfect in some cases, it can provide a very valuable help for your international visitors.

Design customization

This new, beta feature enables full color theming of the fliers. The feature provides unlimited variations for flier design. Using a few special parameters in your listing website's Url, you can match the background and the title color to your existing design or create new great looking, eye catching color themes. This feature is not yet supported by the RealBird membership interface, so it is promoted as an advanced, beta feature.


There are two background color options:

  1. Solid background color (use only one of the parameters - see below)
  2. Gradient background color (use two background color parameters - see below)

The following are the Url parameters. Use the hexadecimal RGB value of your desired colors :

  1. Background color 1
    rb-bgc1=
  2. Background color 2
    rb-bgc2=
  3. Title text color
    rb-fgc=

For example:

Default link:

http://listings.realbird.com/Real_Estate/Ipswich/MA/2738.aspx

Custom theme:
 

http://listings.realbird.com/Real_Estate/Ipswich/MA/2738.aspx?rb-bgc1=898989&rb-bgc2=002300&rb-fgc=FF0000

You can change the hexadecimal color values to test different color themes.

And of course, if you need some help to match your existing website's color theme, just drop us an email.

-- Zoltan Szendro
RealBird.com