REW Custom Design - Join me in creating the next LEC

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Most of our members know, that creating a custom website takes a lot of time, creativity, and talent. But oftentimes they are surprised, shocked, amazed etc when I tell them that a truly high end custom website with all the other custom goodies (custom IDX, custom blog, quick searches, featured listings modules and the like) can take a project into the 200-300 hour range in combined design / programming time. "Are you serious?" Indeed I am :)

So I came up with an idea to take the members on a behind the scenes look at exactly what it takes to go truly custom - you ready?

My idea:

To create a brand new custom design with all the bells and whistles from scratch and do it all publically - Right here in this blog post.

I am the customer (so I am in your shoes) and I will communicate with my development team (design and programming) using the commenting system of REW Blogs. You will be able to watch the site develop from start to finish and during the process (just like a customer would do) I am going to be showing my friends (the REW members) my website in progress, asking them what they think, getting feedback and passing that feedback on to the development team - basically I want to emulate the average custom design process as an REW customer might experience it.

Intellectual property notice!

Might as well get it out of the way now - Absolutely everything I post here is mine (the intellectual property of Real Estate Webmasters). Comps, mockups, unique code samples, all the way up the the finished product, and under no circumstances will attempts to create direct copies or derivative works based on my or my team's genius (humor) be tolerated, in fact if you try to rip off my good design ideas, I will probably sue the pants off you :)

Ok that was unpleasant, let's get back to the fun stuff - the project!

So I am a customer, what is the first thing I need to decide on? - a ha! My budget

  • My budget is $20,000 USD (Based on current REW billable rates) or 200 hours.
  • (Edit budget has been increased to 300 hours or $30,000 USD)

Objective - To create the next "Limited edition custom" in the REW product line.

Required elements - (must have) items for my website.

  • REW Custom IDX (with custom skin)
  • Custom Skinned REW Blog (match custom design)
  • Quick search
  • Featured Listings Module
  • RSS Blog Reader

Basically all of the things that are "included" in our limited edition product.

Other design considerations

I am quite flexible on "design" as I trust the creativity of my designer. However, here are some elements I would like to see considered.

  • 1024 optimization - I really like having that extra "real estate" to incorporate more content above the fold.
  • Suckerfish (SEO friendly) dropdowns - I would like these to be CMS controlled and tied to the main navigation element.
  • Color convertable - Every custom design has its own unique set of things it needs to satisfy. The LEC is only available in one color (for the purchase price) - but I would like to set a goal of designing this site so that if a customer wanted to order a different custom color scheme, each iteration would be able to be implemented within 5 hours of design time so that we can keep additional costs to our customers to a minimum.
  • Corporate / Brokerage / Team or Agent - I don't really know what corporate means (but I think that's what I want), I do know that I want this website to be able to be used out of the box by either an individual high end agent, team, or brokerage.
  • IE 6, 7 and FF 2.0 compatible - Standard fare for REW websites but worth mentioning because I am a "customer", remember :)

And now I have to start thinking about what "corporate" means - because I know that my designer is going to ask me for input in terms of sites I like that achieve this look, color palette feedback and all that other good stuff that custom REW designers hammer you with in that big long email on day one :) - Let me think about that, and I will update this post later :)

Comments

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Morgan Carey

Woah that ended up being REALLY long just for the introduction - change in plans, I am going ot create a "category" for this project in my blog, and break the phases of the development down into more digestable chunks for my readers.

Morgan Carey

Ok I have created a category for this project called "Designing the LEC" located here http://www.realestatewebmasters.com/blogs/morgan-carey/designing-the-lec/ (You might want to bookmark it or send it to a friend if you or they might be interested or if you want to blog about it, you know link bait type stuff )

Morgan Carey

Note to self for kickoff meeting with designer - Let's go to church ;) http://vandelaydesign.com/blog/galleries/best-church-websites/ (A few examples of cool CSS elements for inspiration)

mikey

So George (from Seinfeld) wanted to work for a web design company? I thought he was into import/export.

Morgan Carey

Huh? What are you talking about lol -

Another note to self, must decide on vendor feed to code IDX around, consider SOCAL, MRIS, or Sandicor for ease of access to data.

mikey

Sorry, I couldn't resist. Vandelaydesign.com. On Seinfeld, George used to make up professions. One of them was that he worked for a company named Vandelay Industries.

Morgan Carey

Ah Ok, obscure - but more than acceptable, this is supposed to be fun and educational :)

Morgan Carey

Hello Jamie,
Great to have you on the design team for this project.

To answer some of your questions -
My Business

1: Seeing as we are a new MRIS Vendor (The largest MLS Board in the World), I would like to design this website with our potential MRIS customers in mind. MRIS covers 25 MLS boards / Associations across 5 states - Including West Virginia, Maryland, DC, Virginia and a small part of Pennsylvania. I would like to avoid Washington in my example, perhaps we could look at somewhere in Virginia?

2: The ease of use, robustness and wow factor of our websites along with the most impressive access to available inventory and tools available in a local market. The idea here is to create an online experience that builds loyalty with visitors - they should be so impressed with the usibility and tools available at this website that they will bookmark it (Social or browser) and use it exclusively for their real estate searching needs.

3: Let's keep the specialization generic in a sense - the website / company will generally focus on the resale of residential real estate (Homes, condos, lofts etc) with a secondary focus on commercial and other less trafficked property types. Visitors will be coming from search engines via (Area real estate) type keywords, as well as from traditional marketing efforts (Post cards, business cards, radio, television and press). The customers will be a mixed bag of those looking to relocate, and those looking to purchase from the local populace. Showcasing up to date and complete area information, listings and vital statistics is essensial as well as presenting the services of the brokerage in a positive and prefessional way.

Design Specifications:


1: Crisp and corporate are two I would pick from your list. I don't want it to be "modern" in the sense that it feels like it is over designed, I care about clean and clear access to inventory and information and professional presentation of the brokerage. Other decriptive look and feel type phrases might be web 2.0 or whitespace.

2: Some feelings I want to convey. I like comfort and warmth for sure (I would hate this website to make it's visitors feel cold) and in terms of brand attributes - this one is all about the web 2.0 real estate company (If that makes sense) so corporate and professional, while at the same time intellegent and sophisticated.

3: I do not have a particular color scheme in mind, however I know what I want to avoid. I do NOT want to have light / white text on dark / black background. So light / white background for content areas with dark / black text is essensial for readibility. I want to ensure font types, and sizes are selected so that they can be read by any reasonable aged consumer (Between 20-80 years of age) so please no very small fonts. You may use these blog comments as a guide for font sizes. Other than that, during the mockup phase, colors are up to you - once I see one, I can make some specific recommendations.

4: List in priority - I know for a fact from feedback from customers and our terabytes of traffic statistics that the majority of our website visitors care about "Access to available inventory" - This means the IDX search features (Quick search, advanced search, featured listings etc) must be a primary focus. This would likely be followed by area information (For those not quite sure where they want to start looking) Then Market information (Kind of the same thing) Then the company / blog information (All are important of course - but you said list in priority.

Site Considerations:

1: Yes - On a local level we will be competing with other agent / broker websites. We will also have to content with national real estate directories and searches such as Trulia / Zillow who lack up to date information, but have some VERY robust tools and very large budgets. We not only want to outrank them, but want to showcase the fact that we are local, have complete information and local expertise.

2: Sites that are well designed? Pretty much anything in REW's custom portfolio ;-) - As for non REW sites, these will need to be broken up a bit. Sites like Trulia.com, Roost.com, Estately.com, Redfin etc all have the absolutely wrong "homepage" model as they are set up like search engines, however they all have qualities within their actual property searches (Listings and details) that I admire. Out of that list, overall I feel that from a "design" (Look and feel) perspective redfin.com/buy-a-home/tour-homes?src=homepage is the closest example to what I am looking for - but there is a lot about that site that I also do not like (Cartoony characters, floating small left navigation, I don't dig the footer etc) - Definitely do NOT want this to be a redfin or anything close to it, just a good example of body content area usages such as font types, sizes etc and well broken out cals to action. I had referenced a portfolio of church websites earlier on in this thread and there are also some examples of sites there that have elements that I like (And that I do not)

Probably my favorite of the bunch is http://www.stonebriar.org -

What I like - Really my list is from the sub menu below the flash and up -

Specifically - I really like the balance (space used) between the CTA stuff on the left and the flash on the right. I also like the fact that there is some shape to the flash (Curve on the left) which just seems to make it feel more integrated. I also like the fact that it does not feel "flat".

I like the fact that it has the helpful links under the flash AND the main links above the flash (Although my top links would have suckerfish) I like the height and readability of hte top navigation, but I feel the onstate could be improved. I like the overall header height, logo placement and the ministry index

What I do not like about this site:

Remember I said I didn't want something that felt overdesigned? This website is that for me (Below the header area) - I do not want gradients or anything else that will interfere with the readability of the text or calls to actions on the page. I don't like the gradients, colored dark text on a dark bg, I don't like embedded bg image photos smack dab in the middle of my main content area, I don't like the right navigation at all. I don't like hte keyword search, I think the contact us in the header could be improved significantly - I'm torn I suppose - Overall I think this designer did a great job - Is it my site? Absolutely not - but do I think this church should be satisfied with the website they received - I think they should give their web guy a raise.

Gary Ashton

Cool beans! All looks very exciting :)

G :)

Morgan Carey

Thanks for response:

Example websites - always a tough one, if I were to provide an example, view this page (Not the homepage, which I hate) http://www.redfin.com/about/redfin - I am not out to copy Redfin in any way, I just provide this as a "style" reference.

Area index (Featured areas kind of thing) - I am all for it brother, go for it. Perhaps Areas listed with property types or price ranges as indented links? Something like that.

Not a huge preference here, although I do feel that three column provides more opportunities to organize and showcase - so let's work off the 3 column for now

As for must haves above the fold - Phone number, logo, quick search and listings as well as the index should we come up with something cool for that.

Hit me up with any other questions you have - looking forward to seeing a mockup - if you could upload the final (Obviously no PSD) comp for viewing in a directory lec2.rewdev.com that would be awesome.

thansk

Morgan Carey

I like your idea (Start with 3) CTA's on the homepage - I would liek the slideshow to NOT be there on internal pages (Or better yet, design the internal template so that it was flexible enough to turn it on or off, then I could set a flag in the CMS muhc like a wide hack to let the cusotmer control this on a page to page basis.

As per branding - Use the REW Logo (Get original from Phil) and pretend REW is a brokerage (Please don't build off the REW colors, you can change the logo to match your color scheme - our tagline can be something generic like "Excellence In Real Estate" - I think this would help our audience visualize their branding instead of just "Your logo here"

Don't you agree?

Morgan Carey

You da man, if it's based on the jquery library don't think we should have an issue.

There is one concern though and that is, this is an LEC - doing custom CTA graphics for a slideshow per client is not included in the purchase price so each one would require extra design time know what I mean?

REW Programmer

Hello Morgan,

My name is Jesse and I will be your programmer for this REW LE custom website. To begin this project I figure we should begin by getting a CORE IDX up and running, and then continue from there. I have a few questions for you, which you may answer at any time.

1. What would you like the administrative email and name to be for your IDX. This administrative name will appear on most emails that our sent out from the IDX like the saved searches emails, while the administrative email will be the email address that is notified of newly registered users.

2. Could you provide me with a list of cities that you would like to use on the search form. If you require a list of available cities support in the MRIS datafeed just let me know and I'll send you a list via email.

3. On the map search, what city would you like to be the default city. The map search, when a user first arrives to this page, will center on the specified city, and search for listings within that city.

4. Regarding the details page. What fields would you like to see? Fields include things such as bedrooms, price, address, photos, etc. If you require a list of available fields for display just let me know and I will send you one.

5. Would you like registration enabled or disabled. With registration disabled users can search listings, view search results, and even view the details page of listings. With registration enabled however, users can do everything listed above, except they will be required to register before viewing the details page.

I believe that is all I have for the time being. If you have any questions or concerns just let me know.

OCTeam

Nice site. Really welcoming with that stock photo. Maybe I should just forget the template I have never completed and jump in with this one in my area. A turn-key site.. how nice is that! LOL...

Nice job so far, Jamie and crew.

Morgan Carey

Jamie,

Thanks for the update - I think it is a great start, and I truly appreciate you implementing most if not all of the features and functions that I want (featured listings, quick search, branding elements etc)

In order to move forward on the homepage mockup - we are going to need to change the colors, I absolutely hate them (Not trying to be harsh, I just know me, and if I color issues are getting in the way, it will really distract me from my true objective focusing on the function (Yeah yeah, I know we always say form before function)

So let's get you some real feedback - top to bottom. (Going to remind you I think it is a GREAT start)

Top bottons - (Call Us, Local Area Index and Contact US) once again, you nailed the concept, and I imagine jquery slideopens for the local area index (With a list of all areas served) as well as a contact box with a form and the contact info on it - I can see the elements now - but what I just have to change is the tabs, it might be the color, it might not, but I am not digging those tabs in their current form.

Top Navigation - I like the placement, the size and the readiblity of the buttons, but I do not like the fonts (In fact I do not like the fonts used in most of the site) - Probably just a style preference but those fonts with their accents and curves kind of take away from my clean, web 2.0 objective, at least for me. Note the fonts you have used in the tabs for the quick search (City, Subdivision etc) Those are more of what I was looking for. Tale a look at what Phil and I have been working on for the new REW at http://dev.realestatewebmasters.com I would like you to use the same fonts (Both size and type) for the paragraphs - But for the headings feel free to take some liberties with padding, type, colors and spacing as I am not quite pleased with the REW H tags yet either (I like your H tag spacing better than what I have at REW) - Just keep in mind, I would like the size and type of fonts that I have in the new dev REW paragraphs on this LEC (But black on white - classic, easy to read.)

Quick search - I absolutely love it! - Not going to harp on the fonts, you already know that - but the way the Find your next home by lines up with main nav, the tabbed searching options for hte quick search, the icon giving it some depth and dimension - Obviously as you change out the buttons in the tob, you will change out the buttons throughout (Not a fan of the search button, go button etc, they all need work) but overall - I don't want you to lose the concept of this quick search, as it is an awesome element - probably what I am most please about in this mockup.

The you are here and toggle slideshow - I am not sure what you were planning there, but in it's current form, I would just as soon not see it there, I think it is just bit to much clutter for me - there is already a lot goign on here (Which is in a way what I want) but I just don't want to jam things in every single space - Let's get rid of that for now.

Branding area - Man do I dislike people sitting down looking at laptops :) - I really like the spacial relationship (I like the height and width that area is occupying) but I do not like the people - Reserve that area for "something that does the same thing" but we are going to have to do it in a different way. Take a look at the style of photo / text combo Rackspace uses on thier home page - (I don't really like their site) but I do like how they do their homepage features for testimonials http://www.rackspace.com - It's kind of old school macromedia (If you remember that site before it was bought out) Once again, just reference the style, do not change the spacial relationship of the QS and the feature as that part is good.

Morgan Carey

Featured Listings - 4 across looks great, I like the photo size, I like the border, I like the price - I am not totally sold on the stuff floating beneath it - (What happens if I have a really long city name?) Needs a little work, but 4 across is the way to go, it will evolve as we work out the other elements.

My account - I TOTALLY want to have this there - I just don't like what you have done with this one, it seems a bit out of place, and the clipart dude beside the text I would just as soon never see those kinds of things on any of my sites. If we are going to use little iconic images within text (Which if done right I do like) I don't want them to be microsoft icony type things, I would prefer they were custom designed very subtle arrows, or something like that - know what I mean? We have a new control panel coming out, and we want visitors to truly feel like the customer area that they are logging into is a main feature of the site, not the IDX searches red headed stepchild little brother which it has been in the past :) Location good - just needs some work.

Featured Communities - this will kick butt for interlinking, and SEO - but I worry once again about city name size - I would like to see it work in two columns like that, but I really don't think it will - let's stay with the alternating odd even white / shaded deal, but lets go 1 community per line (Not two colums) and perhaps a little supporting graphic to the left.

Split content on the homepage - This is sweet brother. I already commented on the fonts - but I really like the fact that we can have content all the way across and we can have content broken down into two colums - we will create a special div class for the site and stick it in a sample snippet so customers can do this on any page. Btw I don't think we will need (Nor do I want) to go 3 column with this site - I think what we have as a starting point for layout is just great :)

Recent Blog posts - Here I do actually like the stock icons (Book and conversation bubble, and rss feed) I would like you to mock up the Recent Blog posts with a Title (Hyperlink) and a short snippet of the blog article below the title - for SEO reasons, and I think it is more compelling to users if they can get a teaser of what the article is about. Great start though.

Footer - Return to top, Email, Print, Bookmark - I like the concept again but I don't like the icons (Email is ok I guess) don't like the other two, to cartoony.

Web 2.0 Footer - It's in there, but not what I want it to be "yet" once again, take a look at the dev.realestatewebmasters.com footer - see how we have the address and contact info on the left (Required of all brokerages btw) and then the links on the right? It gives it a little more diversity, which I like. http://www.jimolenbush.com footer I like less, but emphasizes the same concept.

Morgan Carey

Overall Jamie (And I am not surprised at all) you have done a great job for mockup one - (This is why I picked you for this assignment) - We have a ways to go, but lots of hours to do it. I look forward to revisions.

For all of those watching this thread and thinking of becoming custom website customers at REW, or are existing customers - I want you to take note on the feedback (A large reason for this blog post concept)

Some might think I have been overly detailed, critical etc - but this is the kind of feedback you need to give your designer if you want to maximize their efforts and reduce your billable hours. There is nothing wrong with saying you absolutely hate something (They need to know, and they do have thick skin) but of course, you want to temper it with complimentary elements so a nice balance of both what you don't like in a mockup, and what you DO like in a mockup - be as detailed as you can - Responses like "Meh I'm not really digging it, do it in blue" will ensure that you waste a lot of hours, and the next revision you see you won't be happy with either.

Hope you are enjoying our little trip down custom design lane so far - I am really excited - thanks Jamie!

Wayne Long

Will the LEC maps have local amenities like http://www.nashvillebuyers.com/idx/map/ ? This seems like a great custom feature.

I really like the new design so far. It will be interesting to see the final product.

Morgan Carey

Probably not as a standard feature - the reason being, is that ammennitites data is not available for all areas, whereas the LEC is available in all areas. It is a feature that can be ordered however, not just for the LEC but for all REW IDX powered websites - if it is available in that area, it can be accomplished.

Morgan Carey

Very hard to tell with such a basic pallet, but I would probably say I gravitate towards http://comps.rewdev.com/REW-Limited-Edition-Custom-2/color-combinations/color-3.html the most - however, they all seem kind of "dark" to be (But I totally understand that implementation of design and whitespace will lighten it up big time - so unless you have any objections, let's go with that color (#3) and implement some of my other suggestions / feedback and see how she goes :)

Thanks REW Design

Morgan Carey

Thanks Jamie,

I see you changed the photo out, thanks for that, I really wasn't digging that photo at all, in fact to be quite honest, I am not digging this either - I am just quite simply not a fan of stock photos of people and computers, or boxes or standing outside of houses etc - I see this as one of our biggest challenges - but for now, let's just leave the photos out, or use a nice area photo that is complimentary to the color scheme (See how the photo makes jimolenbush.com pop?)

Now in terms of other feedback on this mockup there are a lot of areas I think you have made huge strides on (Great improvements)

Things I think we are moving in the right direction with

Recent Blog posts - What an improvement, it's almost perfect the only thing I want to change is the fonts for "Recent Blog Posts" I know I already asked you to change them, but honestly I think I may have been wrong now that I see these fonts, the font style you had in the first mockup I think I like better, please change it back.

Footer - you are going in the right direction again, I am not sold on it yet, but much better than the first mockup - I do think there is a little to much space between the footer links, and the logo.

Local Area Index and Contact Us at the top - a little better, but I am not satisfied with those yet, let's keep going - they are not as flat as the first mockup (Which is a good thing) but I think now they have to much contrast / shape - it does not feel like they fit the site.

The my account - wayyyyyyyyy better than the first mockup - Just liket he blogs, we will probably have to adjust the headline font to the old (Or a different font) and I would like to remove / change the arrow that is pointing down (That is confusing) but other than that a great step once again in the right direction.



Things I think we went in the wrong direction with

Heading and top navigation fonts - you were right, I was wrong - I don't like what you changed them to, I think the top navigation (Home Sellers, Buyers) looked way better (As did the quick search) in your first mockup I would like you to put the fonts (Sizes and types, but not colors) back the way they were, or trying something else.

Quick search - even though I hated the color of hte first mockup, (and maybe this was the fonts talking) I really do not like whatever has changed in this new mockup with regards to the quick search, that was one of the thigns I was most happy with in Mockup 1, and I think we went backwards here. I am going to post a screen for reference below - I REALLY do not want to go away from what is in the screen.

Morgan Carey

Here is the screenshot of the top I liked http://www.realestatewebmasters.com/_img/topIliked.png

And you know what, in looking at that screenshot, I actually really like the original color scheme you did - what I did NOT like is the red (Like in the top buttons, go buttons etc in Mock 1) I probably should have just had you try something other than red - but hey, that's why we have the budget we do for this site right.

Morgan Carey

Alright, you probably want more feedback than this :) - What else -

The featured communities doesn't work in it's current form. I did really like it in two columns, the way you first had it, but I am still worried about long area names, and what that would look like. Any suggestions here?

Featured Listings - Once again, I am concerned with area names, what I would like you to do is REMOVE The City / State (Which will push the other 2 up) but I do not want to loose the height, so where the third line used to be, I would like to see a "view property" button.

Magnifying glass on quick search - not sure where you were going with that, but please get rid of it. It is completely out of place in this site

Suckerfish Dropdowns (Can you include a sample in the next mockup with one of them colapsed and it's hover state please?) I really like the style of Zend's dropdowns http://www.zend.com/en/

Photo slide commentary - I think we totally missed connecting here when I referenced Rackspace.com and you came back with stock photo people. I would like to give you a couple more references to help you understand the "style" of photo I am going for but I am taxed for time tonight, Zend had one I thought was "sort of" the style I was looking for static.zend.com/topics/hp-main-studio-eclipse-training.jpg but not quite (I don't want squeazing lemon photo's just referencing a style) - Keep in mind, these slides need to be easily changed out, as this is after all an LEC, and we don't want to get hung up on this item for each customer.

Morgan Carey

Thanks Jamie, and absolutely no need to appologize brother - this is what custom design is about, sometimes you have to try things to find out they aren't actually what you don't want.

Also, there are a ton of positive moves forward, and I really think you took "exactly" what I said to heart and made a great attempt (With the exception of the slideshow photos).

I am REALLY stoked about this site - aside from the fact that both comps already look amazing (I would take either of them if I was a broker) the functionality is going to make this thing a conversion monster.

It's rare that we get the kind of budget I have given you for this site, hence why I don't mind using every hour to get it "perfect" - so don't get me wrong, I am super pleased thus far.

Morgan Carey

Awesome job my friend!

I really think a placeholder with that nice area shot was a good call, that way it is not distracting us from the rest of the design (They are always a pain in the ass huh?) - Ah well I kind of like the place holder to be honest ;) - Where they heck are we? We are damn close that's where we are, and I am very excited.

Some feedback:


Top area - looking way better than mock2 (Probably should have listed to you in the first place, but had to spend the hours to prove myself wrong, ah well) - In terms of the very top right (The local area index, contact and phone number) I still think it could use some polishing, but I think I am comfortable leaving them as is until the build as they will likely come alive a bit when we start building the html, CSS etc - let's keep em for now. So let's assumed that this screen is what we are going to approve and take to the build http://comps.rewdev.com/REW-Limited-Edition-Custom-2/morganscreens/approvedtop.jpg - any polishing we can do during the build. Rockin dude, great job :)

Morgan Carey

Featured Listings - Approved as is (I am assuming we will be making the Featured listings headline an H2 (Search engine readable) so that if someone wanted to call it "Featured Atlanta Listings" or whatever, they could change that, as it could be a snippet. (I have some cool ideas for programming on this, but let's talk when we have started the build).

The body content area - 2 column, and single column formats are both approved as is. (Might tweak a tiny bit during build)

The Recent Blog posts is also approved (Reminder consider during build to make the entire content area per post summary clickable

Featured Communities also looks great - Build it

I really only have 2 main areas that I would like to tighten up just a bit more and I would like your advise as to whether you think we should start markup now and change them during the build, or modify them during the build phase?

The 2 areas are #1 (Search button under quick search to the my account) I am really not sold on the search button, and the my account is so freaking close to right it ain't funny, something about it's height or the way it lines up - Here is a screen of the very small area I would like to continue to improve there. http://comps.rewdev.com/REW-Limited-Edition-Custom-2/morganscreens/sidearea.jpg - Looking at the screenshot itself, I am a much bigger fan - it's just the advanced search seems kind of forced in there, the amount of space between the work "search" and the icon - I don't know - I posted the screen so that you know the area I am talking about, but I only really notice the issues when I look at the comp as a whole.

Morgan Carey

The last piece is the footer - Screen here http://comps.rewdev.com/REW-Limited-Edition-Custom-2/morganscreens/footer.jpg - This is EXACTLY what I asked for, you have done a great job. That being said, I just think we can get a bit more out of it, if I have to increase my budget to focus some serious hours on the detail work so be it, but I am just think there is "something" but I don't know what it is.

Some ideas.

Icons beside links - Check out what I did with the icons beside the syndication & TOS in the footer of the new REW http://www.realestatewebmasters.com/ - sure it's a tiny little thing, but might be a concept to play around with -

Map Icon - Could link to an internal page with a Google map of the office location? (This I am not crazy about, just brain storming)

Contrast of headings (Search listings etc) against bg - the headings seem to muted - I think there should be a bit more contrast (Darker beige on dark beige know what I mean?)

Some sites with killer footers:

http://www.realestatewebmasters.com (Already referenced)

http://www.jimolenbush.com - I "think" what makes this footer stand out for me is the fact that has some texture to it "BG image) not sure I want to go there though, as I want this thing lightning fast - but it is an idea if it doesn't create to much overhead.

http://simplebits.com - I don't know what it is I like about this site (Besides everything) but thier footer concept is cool - note the different "types" of elements - some links, some iconic / images, some textual.

http://wordpress.org - not even sure if I would call this a footer due to it's height, but again, I like the mix of 1,2,3 and textual based elements.

http://www.cssaddict.com - I absolutely love their footer - Could it be that we need little icons beside our links (note checkboxes, and plus signs, we could go with a sideways triangle in a box type element to stay consistent with search icons etc - btw Vicky Gourgouri I absolutely love your work if you ever get a chance to read this :)

That should be enough examples for now - and now that I have been going through all these great footer examples, I think I'm off to work on some concepts for that crappy footer I have on the REW forums lol

Thanks Jamie, great job so far - let's kick it into overdrive and get this puppy rolling!

Btw - how are we doing for hours so far? Budget is no object I am just curious, as I am sure those reading this post are as well.

Thanks dude have a great night.

Morgan Carey

Your dev is already installed my friend - http://dev190.rewtemplates.com - also, I have arleady programmed the CORE IDX in anticipation of this build you can see the non skinned version here http://dev190.rewtemplates.com/idx/ - I will need to program both a subdivison and a school search, but should not be a problem with MRIS data.

Let's do it!

REW Programming

Hey Morgan,

Now that we are ready to begin the build, lets start with your subdivision and school search. Any ideas on how you would like the functinality to work? What steps the user needs to take, and how to limit the schools/subdivisions if at all.

Thanks

Morgan Carey

Because you are posting a comment in someone else's blog - hyperlinks are a privelledge for the blog owner only in REW Blogs - stops others from being able to link spam :)

Morgan Carey

REW Design - Top bar changes approved with one comment - although I like the way it looks, I know agents and brokers (And although it actually looks really good this way) they are right when they will ask for a slightly larger phone number - it's one of the most commonly requested changes by agents - Should we leave it as is and change upon request or should we be pre-emptive and change it now in the comps (I really don't want to loose what you have done here as I really like it)

Morgan Carey

Sweet Mr Design Sir! - I am technically off today (For a week, cause I'm getting married) but I will be around in my home office and would LOVE to see an update posted to the dev today. Thanks for the update, you just reminded me, I owe programming some feedback as to what I want the IDX to accomplish. Let me know if you run into any roadblocks that you need assistance with.

Thanks

Morgan Carey

We'll never know unless we try :) - give it a shot - if nothing else we can use the source for a different element (Perhaps even here at REW blogs ;)

Morgan Carey

Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuddddddddddeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeetttttttttttttttttttttttt

I need some time to digest this deal and start thinking about IDX architecture but damn man, I am one happy kid right now!

REW Programming

Hey Morgan,

I got some concerns regarding the homepage of the LEC.

  • My Account login: Just wanted to confirm that you want the login to work based on name and email address? No passwords? If so would this be first name and last? Also should the IDX login be changed to match this?
  • Quick Search: When searching subdivisions on the IDX users must first select a city. When searching schools school type and city is required. I need to know how you would like these quick searches to work. There doesn't seem to be enough space to add the required fields needed like city and school type on the quick search so we'll need to do these two searches using a different method than the IDX search, or make room for the required fields.
  • Any idea how you would like the featured listings to be pulled?

Thanks

Morgan Carey

Tampa, I removed your review of the website from the blog entry and reposted it on the active thread in the forums for website review of LEC 2 located here http://www.realestatewebmasters.com/showthread.php?t=27093 just to keep it all in the same place.

thanks

Morgan Carey

Programming, great point - in the REW system I beleive email address is the username is it not? So that could simply read - email address / password.

Give me a few minutes to think through the whole quick search deal. What about type ins for school or subdivision names?

Morgan Carey

REW Design, can I get an update on hours please?

Thanks

Morgan Carey

187 - keep goin brother :) - Still need a bit of time on the quick search I have some thoughts but they aren't clearly developed yet. In the meantime, can you give that suckerfish dropdown some love (Really bugging me) - and also put some time into the stylization of the dropdown jquery features for both the area index (which is going to be an alphabetical list of areas served) and the contact section - (You have room for mulitple phones, address, etc - I don't watn to micromanage those sections to much especially if you already have a vision for them.

Morgan Carey

BOTH are good ideas - so I am going to leave it up to you, which one (Or alternative) would YOU like to try. I think I might need to see something there before I can make up my mind on this one.

Thanks for the reminder / feedback

Brett

Wow! That site is looking pretty sweet!

Morgan Carey

Thanks Brett - I am just the picky customer - all the credit for the fancy pretty wow factor stuff goes to the dev team :) - I am happy with it as well.

Morgan Carey

The local area index is AWESOME! - Please don't focus to much on the quick search right now, I am more concerned with getting hte IDX skinning under way - we will probably end up goign with type in for those pesky quick search options

We should also try to get this incorporated into the CMS 2.0, so I can start clicking around and implrement some demo content etc

Thanks

Morgan Carey

The contact form item is also awesome! (I will have some feedback) but I am digging both of em!

Morgan Carey

Dude registration is awesome! - quick search, we are going to go to an auto complete type in format for schools and subs, so we can revert back to the way we had it (which I liked)

Let me check out the blog etc see what there is to see :)

Morgan Carey

Quick comment on the blog, (And the IDX for that matter) I do not want to have the slideshow on the /blog/ or /idx/ pages at all.

Morgan Carey

Answers:

Featured listings should "most definitely" be a snippet

Local Area Index a snippet yup - Featured Communities, makes sense as well. I guess we don't have any "tranditional" CMS sidebar navigation. But I am not sure we need it - in fact, one could get creative with snippet includes (would be custom requests) should they want more controllable areas in the sidebar. We should probably make the footer links snippets as well.

Now onto intutive sub navigation (Sub pages for area pages, or buyers section etc) - I actually had an idea for this as well. The idea is to actually have the sub navigation (sub pages) of the main pages show up in the body content area directly below the slideshow. This is something we toyed with here: http://www.yourraleigh.com/raleigh-businesses.php and it actually worked out quite well. I was thinking 4 columns, it would not take up much vertical space. Thoughts? It could even have a breadcrumb "type" element or feel to it where it had a label like "Pages contained with "mainpage" as a headline - know what I mean (this might not make sense, but I can explain further if need be.)

As for what my account box will change to, it will actually be the links for our new control panel - I just finished building it, and the very first implementation can be seen on http://www.hartanovteam.com (I adding some extra goodies there too, hope you don't mind) - Anyways, go ahead and login, you will see the control panel links - they are:

Control Panel
My Favorites
My Saved Searches
My Messages
Logout

There is actually some really cool stuff built into the control panel, such as an intelligent saved search generator that "learns" from IDX search behavior and creates a saved search, and emails them once it has learned enough (I am quite proud of it actually)

Quick search definitely does NOT need to be on IDX pages (search, listings or details) what will be there instead is a "refine search" bar - you can see an example of it here: http://www.luxurysarasotarealestate.com/idx/search.html?submit=true - as you can see, the concept will work really well with the current LEC - what will need to happen, is on the IDX pages, the "Find your next home by" graphic will need to be changed to "REFINE YOUR SEARCH to.." or something like that.



Tim Baur

Morgan,

Love the site. The intelligent saved search generator is a awesome idea. Makes it look like the agent is doing alot of extra work for the buyer.

Look forward to seeing the completion. See you next week.

Morgan Carey

Ermmm not sure that will work - what would go on the main page, if you move the search stuff to the right?

Morgan Carey

Quick update for those following this post - "Austin, TX" has been purchased and is no longer available for this LEC - The sticker price was $10,000 with no custom mods (Plus hosting of course) - figured I better post that as I know I will be asked. This is not the final price, it will definitely be "at least" $10,000 but price may go up based on how the first one goes in terms of reproduction time (And of course demand) - anyone that wants to pre-order at the $10,000 price point, feel free

REW Programming

Hey Morgan,

I was just looking over your IDX and had an idea. What are your thoughts on adding a Mobile IDX to this LEC? I can create a simple IDX search for you that is accessible from your cell phone or blackberry. It will be a very simple search, ie City and address. Will only take me around 10 hours to implement.

Let me know if you would like to have this done

Morgan Carey

Design - I will hopefully be able to post some feedback tonight, the search results are looking GREAT! - I am super stoked, we will also need to make some programming modifications for snippets.

Programming - heck no we aren't building in a mobile IDX search lol - (Although people can certainly order one if their MLS board allows it)

Design - Again - I really want to get the sub navigation concept started, I think I posted about it above, but I will re-iterate my thoughts and ideas about it later tonight as well.

Great job guys! (Btw, I think we sold like 4 more of these at the conference, and one lucky attendee "Mike Taylor" also won one for his market - Indianapolis. Zing!

Morgan Carey

I guess I should post - I beleive Indianapolis, Calgary , San Clemente and Mckinney TX are all now taken as is Austin.

Morgan Carey

SAaaaaweeeeeeeeeeetttttttttt!!!! That's exactly what I was thinking :) - Just need some programming love, and I think we are good to go from a design perspective (other than the IDX) - actually there is only one other thing we need from a design perspective, a "featured callout box" - I think we can use that exact same skin / style for the featured callout box that you have used for sub nav - I will create a snippet and see how that works out - if that works, then I can start releasing this thing (without the IDX) to let those who have purchased begin implementing thier content.

Morgan Carey

I gotter done :) dev190.rewtemplates.com/buying.php

Morgan Carey

The search results in FF 3 (Not sure about 2.xx) are not working, I will check out your progress in IE 7 on the details page for now, but in the meantime, can you please debug the search results for FF this is of course important to us.

Thanks

Morgan Carey

It's a you'll know when you see it problem - it's completely fubared :)

Morgan Carey

Never mind, must have been a caching issue (Or perhaps you were updating) - seems fine now. Looking forward to seeing the details pages modifications.

Thanks

Morgan Carey

A few things on the LEC details page.

Below the slider, totally cool and approved.

As for the slider itself - we are going to need to change that, not a fan at all - what about using the jquery carosel function like we use on the bottom of http://www.realestatewebmasters.com/portfolio/ - actually scratch that, there is an even cooler effect that we did here http://finehomesofhiltonhead.com/listings/detail.php?id=125 - see how nice and polished that is compared to a stock slider? Ask Phil for sample code if required.

Other feedback - the border around the photo is far to bold for me - I don't know if it is to dark, or to thick (I think both) I would like to see that reduced a bit, maybe keep the color for the next iteration and reduce the width by "at least" half.

I want to loose the gradient under the "general details" - keep the proportions similar, however I want to use more of the width of that area (there is room on buth sides) - loose the gradient, and make those fonts / colors more readable - I also would like to see a bit more effect (maybe a button or tab) in place of that text link for more details.

WE ARE SOOOO DAMN CLOSE!

Morgan Carey

http://dev190.rewtemplates.com/idx/listings/MC6819338/details.html Slider looks freakin awesome! user pass is rew / rew for those that want to check it out.

thataway61

No, what is freakin awesome is the Local Area Index and where it is hidden!

Morgan Carey

Did you happen to notice the click to classic view at the top :)

Morgan Carey

Someone sounds excited to get started :) - We are going to go over final revisions tomorrow and next so yours should be able to get started the week after.

Morgan Carey

It appears to be working fine, Curtis, you just need to clear your cache :)

Morgan Carey

Thanks REW Design - looks like it's Game on! :) Great job - hit me up for your next assignment.

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