Responding to people, places, and things

In the last post, you can watch me on video attempting to capture some of what we’re working on here at Solid Earth in our latest product, Spring.

I used a lot of words and ideas  about data, usability, and platforms, that maybe just flowed together; however, each of these concepts have a real, profound meaning to our work on Spring. What we’re working towards is a cohesive, intuitive, and beautiful way for both real estate professionals and the general public to navigate through listings and real estate information.

I say navigating, because that’s what it really is.

There is a lot of information surrounding real estate – from the details of individual property listings to regional demographic and landmark data to the profiles of brokers and other participants – and, historically, it has been a true challenge to relevantly expose this data in the right way, to the right person, at the right time. Searching has evolved into a Don Quixote-esque pursuit of potential information, with elaborate forms, intricate query combinations, and possibly even MIT-level trigonometry (if you want to do a radius search). Comparing data becomes a second layer of complexity, sharing data in a sensible way yet another level… and so on. It’s a routine where only experience in wrangling the data can truly help you.

Navigating is always easier with a Wookiee.

The center of this scenario lies in the fact that we must also be stationed our desktop or laptop in order to embark on these voyages of discovery. Want to perform a search? Go to the office! Want to see some sensible data analysis? Print it out! Want to share your results? Paste into an email! Want to check out a listing while you’re at a spontaneous coffee shop meeting with a customer? Pull it up on your iP… um… no wait, don’t do that. Want to sit on the couch at night and see the day’s analytics? Your tabl… nevermind, not that either.

A recent survey looked at where people used their smartphones and found 84% use them at home, 74% use them in line or waiting for appointments, 64% at work, and 47% during their daily commute.

Compete Plus, March 10 2012

It doesn’t need to be this way.

In fact, we believe that it can’t be this way, not anymore. Now, our day-to-day routine consists of moments that require access to information spontaneously, because it is expected of us. People want you to share that information with them, and they hope that when it arrives at their digital door that it will be packaged and dressed nicely.

Spring is being built with this explicitly in mind, for now, and for the future. It’s easy enough to build for the select number of screen-equipped devices we typically use today (think mobile devices, tablets, laptops and desktops), but what about a year or two from now? Five years? You may be looking up the history of your home on your refrigerator, for all we know. And so, we’re creating with that flexibility, or responsiveness, in mind as well.

As we continue to build Spring we are excited to share the things we’re doing and discovering along the way. This post is just a rough intro to bits of the strategy we’re employing as we create, so please stick close as we move forward. There’s some great stuff just over the horizon.

3 thoughts on Responding to people, places, and things

  1. Hi Adam,

    I love the forward thinking here. The idea of using a refrigerator as a device to search is actually not that crazy. I’m glad your vision is working for our benefit and the benefit of our members and their clients.

    I am, however, a little worried about that 47% who are working on their phones while driving to and from work…..

    • Thanks Juli. I think that responsive design is fun to think about, because of the possible applications as we move forward. While I can’t divulge our devious ideas, we’ve come up with some pretty cool concepts for how Spring can translate to other platforms.

      And yes, some fairly concerning stats there. One great stat though is that “74% of smartphone owners indicated they are using their device primarily for personal reasons”. I think browsing for new homes fits into that category.