Fresh air from the Northwest: Windermere unveils new Website

Windermere’s new site launched yesterday. I decided to take some time and really dig into it because I like these guys and I know how hard they’ve worked at this.

For the most part they’ve really nailed it. I love the simple home page sans all the clutter and phony imagery that plagues most real estate websites.

I love that they made search simple — a welcome relief to the eye, especially when held next to the text and image heavy John L Scott site that throws wizards, draw tools, quick searches, and interactive maps at you all at once. Windermere offers the user one simple option. The one they want: Home search.

I can smell the fresh scent of Northwest air laced with pine.

A thought though: Why not, at the very least, highlight the markets they serve? Does the average Bay Area resident know that Windermere has offices and listings in Washington State? I wonder.

Search defaults to a map. And a pretty darn good one at that. Personally, I would have preferred a list view, or a choice (map or list). Technically it’s pretty cool. Young users will enjoy this. Boomers… not that convinced.

The search offers a host of refiners that place the user in the driver’s seat delivering a niceTrulia – like experience. One request however: Let’s move the City and State fields located above the map over to the right, above price, so all the refiners are in one place. That would do it for me.

What is “Clipping“? Sounds like something grandma did with coupons when I was a kid. Seems this is all about saving listings. Might be prudent to just call it Save Listings and not get fancy with the naming. Site navigation and nomenclature should steer clear of metaphors.

I could not find Listing Alerts. Maybe that’s coming in phase II.

I clicked on “Advanced Search” and found it to be quite simple and not all that advanced really. We see that a lot. Quick Search. Advanced Search. “More Search Options” feels more appropriate.

The listing detail page seems a bit cramped and I wished I could have expanded it a bit and reduced the map some. The property ought to be given a bit more room to breath. Also, it took me an extra few seconds to figure out that the numbers under the main photo changed the property photos. Not a big deal but considering how cramped this display is, little things like this would bug me as a buyer and piss me off as a seller.

This site has greatness in the making written all over it. With a quality technology and marketing staff and a meaningful brand to build around, I think it’s only a matter of time before it will become a key destination for those looking for homes in the areas Windermere serves.

What it’s going to become is anyone’s guess but I for one want a front row seat when it’s unveiled.

Great job Windermere.