Cloud CMA and the downfall of crappy real estate software

Real estate pros have been fed really crappy software for a long time – applications that are complex, sclerotic manifestations of design processes sealed off from the needs of users.

Thankfully, that’s starting to change. Cloud CMA, which launched at Real Estate Connect NYC two weeks ago, is one of a growing number of apps driving that shift.

The application – which, as the name suggests, is a Web-based CMA and property report tool – evidences a deep mindfulness of end-users. Greg Robertson and Dan Woolley at W&R Studios, the brains behind CloudCMA, have raised the bar on UI design for real estate software by applying this sensibility.

Terabitz (a 1000watt client) has followed this path with the brokerage Website interface; the RPR reflects a user-focused design process in its display of property information. More examples are on the way.

I’m particularly excited about Cloud CMA because it’s a core real estate app. Robertson and Woolley didn’t design a tool for tracking the tweets of escrow officers; they put on their user goggles and tackled an established category notorious for nasty software.

Today, most agents create CMA’s using poorly designed applications bolted to their MLS or to their broker’s Website. They navigate a phalanx of drop-down menus, radio buttons and what I call “mystery clicks.”

When you focus on the user, you cast away most of that stuff and leave only those things that help the user complete the task they’re seeking to complete.

I’m not going to go into a detailed review of CloudCMA’s features because, well, you probably know what a CMA is. Cloud CMA just makes creating them (along with buyer tour reports and individual property reports) a lot easier.

I will mention that there are a couple whiz-bang features in the mix: the ability to create a report by sending an email with an address or MLS number and (a little bleeding edge but definitely indicative of where things are headed) QR codes that appear on the cover of every report.

If you’re an agent, check it out. If you’re a real estate software vendor, take note: it’s time to up your game.

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