REW Custom Design - Join me in creating the next LEC
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?
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 :)