New MyProperty website (phase 1) launch imminent
The new MyProperty website launch is imminent. It will be faster, easier to use, attract more visitors from the search engines and provide better quality listings for visitors. Our big drawcard is the new ‘intelligent search’ feature which will be a first for the South African property market. Basically, it allows for natural language property searches.
Phase 1: Focusing on the basics
The first phase will focus on the ‘basics’. This includes a completely new database structure which is really an evolution on the current model. It will allow for faster response times on queries and include new fields such as geocoding for all property listings. With the interface design our team have gone through a multitude of prototypes over the last few months and we are proud to say that the result is a distinct ‘web 2.0 look and feel’. We are also upgrading our current Microsoft SQL database version to SQL Server 2008 and our code infrastructure to .NET 3.5.
Phase 2, 3, 4 …..
Subsequent phases will introduce key new functionality and further refine current processes. Social networking integration is high on our priority list. Will we ever get to a ‘final solution’? Nope - with the internet changing so fast and new concepts and tools being introduced every day, one has to align your product to ‘what is out there’ and what customers want. Having a team that understands new technology and knows how to implement it really fast is key to exponential growth. One of our goals over the last 12 months was to get the right team together to to make this happen.
An agile approach to web development
At Entegral we follow an agile development process: there is frequent inspection, a lot of iterations and collaboration and rapid development of high quality software. We constantly align ourselves and our products to both our customer needs and company goals. Teamwork and self-organisation is key - traditional corporate structures are out.
We know that most of our competitors follow a traditional ‘waterfall’ project management approach to launching a new website: 12 months of planning and coding (with lots of cash thrown in) and then the ‘big bang’ with the launch. Sure, you have a new good looking website but nothing much happening after that.
It’s unique, it’s us
We didn’t try to copy anyone on the new MyProperty website. Frankly, none of the current SA property portal websites appealed to us. We looked at various international sites such as www.trulia.com , www.zillow.com and a few others for inspiration and played around with some of these concepts. But in the end, we took what was already working and tweaked it even further. What’s more, we introduced innovative new functionality like the intelligent search feature and new SEO tweaks that will push the site rankings up even higher. All good news if you are an estate agent, or in the market for a new property.