Pinning Down Properties for Online Search

by Gabriel

The latest idea is a more accurate way of finding what you want on their website. We’ve done this with search areas that you add to a map. Rather than sifting through all of the properties in Cambridge, for example, you can specify in which areas you would actually like to live.

Search pins placed on a Google map

This could be a village, or within range of a certain local landmark such as a station or school, a specific street or simply an area that you love. By adding and resizing as many search areas as you like, you can build up a personalised list of properties that you are interested in.

Other filters apply too, such as number of bedrooms, price range and property type. But the key thing was to make the new way of searching easy as well as useful.

Usability

Firstly, we conceptualised it as adding pins to a map, because that’s a solid and common physical metaphor. The map has all the properties displayed as flags from the start, so that users know they are searching the whole portfolio.

Secondly, we made the controls – for adding, moving, deleting and renaming pins and for resizing the search area – simple, recognisable buttons.

Thirdly, we peppered the facility with hints and encouragements to get you started, such as an auto-complete search box that lists postcodes, towns, streets and landmarks as you start typing, educating you about what is possible and adding a first pin to get you started.

Once a user has built up a customised search he or she can save it for later, and get updates of new properties within the search by email or text message.

With features like pin-based searching, TuckerGardner are streets ahead of other local agents. They are competing rather with the national whole-market websites to be the quickest and most useful search engine for properties in Cambridge.