BlueRoof360 will begin building our mobile app soon because a new broker client has requested it. We will spend a week or so designing how it will look and work and then spend whatever time it takes building it (we anticipate a few weeks to a month) and I can already think of a few things that will make it stand apart from other mobile apps available.
I have one idea in particular that sounds like it will be really cool to build into our app, and, as the owner of a technology company, thinking of a new idea is exciting because I know I can build it.
But when I think about the usability and function of it I still find it difficult to imagine people actually using a mobile phone app to search for homes. Even those who are really into technology, like me, can get so much more out of the experience searching from our laptop/desktop computer that it seems like just a big waste of time. And I’m the target demographic for these apps.
Here a few things to consider;
A mobile phone has such a small screen that no matter how big you make the photos they are going to be small, and unless you are looking in a dimly lit room many of the screens are not going to render a very nice view of the images anyway.
Mobile phones, even with 3G and the best mobile OS, load so slowly compared to a laptop/desktop that building really cool functions are impossible.
The supposed advantage of a mobile app (being able to find a home while you are out driving around) seems like a situation drummed up by app developers rather than actual home searchers. I have an iPhone and when searching for a home I cannot see myself driving to an area I like and then doing a search on my phone to find available properties. It makes no sense at all to me. If I can go to a great website and search and find all the homes that are available, very quickly, including photos, maps, and area info, and if I’m alerted every time a new listing comes on the market that meets my criteria, why in the world would I drive around clicking SEARCH on my mobile phone?
Searching for a home is rarely an individual event. Usually people share their searching with spouses, friends and family. Trying to search together on a mobile phone with others is not plausible.
There is only one application I can see where using a mobile phone would actually enhance the home buying experience. This is the piece that I hope to build into our mobile app. I won’t say what it is yet (gotta give us a running start on it) but even with this cool new tool, which would be new and unique, I still have to wonder…
Will anyone really use it?