You may have heard about the latest version of REsearch that has been in the works, 4.3, which is a complete database restructure. We are in the final stages of development and are now starting to open the gates for our external beta testers. As our members, your thoughts and feedback are invaluable to us in making sure we deliver the best possible MLS service we can. This beta will last over the next couple of weeks, giving everyone a chance to get in there and test things out.
Beta Site Address: http://rebeta.hawaiiinformation.com/REsearch/HIS_REORG
If you come across any bugs you can notify us of them using this quick and easy to use form: http://useresearch.com/bugform/
Please note: Due to the database change, you will not be testing with Live data. Unfortunately we cannot run the new system and an old system on the same database because of the amount of changes that have taken place on the backend. This will make your testing even more crucial as we need to uncover all of the bugs before we can switch 4.3 over to the live system.
What’s new in 4.3?
First and foremost is the complete database restructure. We have done a lot of work to clean and expand the number of fields in the system. The idea is to give the agent the ability to list a given property in its entirety and as such, we have added several hundred new fields.
Due to the amount of changes that are being made in 4.3, we were also able to further develop two areas that have not had an update in a long time; Data Entry and Display Formats.
The first thing you will notice when putting in a new listing is that you don’t choose a form type anymore. Form types were based on paper forms and locked a user into listing their property as a certain type. Because of this restriction we found properties being listed 2 or 3 times because it could be a Residential or a Commercial, or a combination of both. We now have one form to rule them all, and the user can select any and all ‘Types’ the property falls under, making each listing more complete and making it easier to find what you are looking for when conducting a search.
Where are Condos? After doing our due diligence we found Condo does not properly fall under a ‘Type’ of property but rather is an ‘Ownership’. To classify your property you will need to choose Type, Subtype and Ownership. These 3 fields will also help to increase the accuracy to which the property is listed and searched upon.
Because of the number of fields we have added, and because we are now only using one form to cover everything, you can imagine the listing form has become quite large. We have done our best to put fields into logical categories which you can expand and collapse, making the entire thing much more manageable. Further you can select only the categories you want to show up when you print, helping to reduce the amount of paper you use. And finally if you are really in a rush, you can use the option that will jump you from required field to required field.
We also have added some adaptive pieces to the form. This means if you are listing a property that has two buildings you can easily add another building to the form. You also can add as many schools or contacts (private and public) to the listing as you want, allowing you to expand the form even further to fit your listing needs.
When we looked at how much data was being added and changed, we decided to give our graphic designer a chance to rebuild the display formats. We wanted to give them a cleaner, less ink heavy look, while creating a layout that was easy to read and find the relevant data. We have made changes to all the MLS formats, however did not touch the TMK formats in this release.
Listings / Saved Searches / Prospects:
With all the changes to the data, we have attempted to convert as many Listings, Saved Searches and Prospects that we could. However we unfortunately could not reach 100% conversion. Because of this we will need our users to check and update their listings, searches and prospects after we have switched over.
Major Areas of Testing
Data Entry: Please list your properties into the beta site and see if you run into any problems. List the properties and make them active (don’t worry, as stated this is test data we populated based off the real database) and then try searching for them (make sure to try all different types of properties such as commercial and residential). You may need to edit your search screen to access all the new fields (we will be creating a new default search screen in a few weeks to help new users have access to all fields).
Some other parts of Data Entry to check:
- Verbiage – Please verify everything looks good and terms and words are correctly used.
- Field Placement – Please examine the different categories where we placed fields, see if these are in fact logical placements or whether they should be changed and/or new categories created.
- Functionality – Do you have any problem moving around the form, interacting with all the pieces? Do the buttons do what they should, etc.
- Easibility – Right off I understand how a much large form will score low in this area, however please examine the amount of data and how easy is it to understand where to go for various options, select those options, and generally list your property. Does it take too long, does the form not move quick enough, do you like how categories open and close, etc.?
- General Workflow – Given this will become a new piece of an agents workflow, how well does it fit?
- Display Formats: After listing your properties with as much data entered as possible, search using each of the various MLS Display Formats.
Details to check on Display Formats:
- Data: Please check the completeness of the data on the formats. Is there anything you listed on the form that is now appearing on the full display format? Did we leave off any important information on one of the smaller formats that absolutely must be there?
- Verbiage: Again please check us on spelling and correct use of words and terms.
- Field Placement: We again tried to group data in logical categories and areas where we felt it held the most relevance. If you find something that is in the wrong area or just doesn’t make sense, please let us know.Print: How good does it print? Is it something you will be comfortable handing a client? How can it be improved?
I thank you again for being part of this first round of Beta testing. Please keep all bugs and feedback as constructive and as complete as possible. The more details you can provide us (including screen captures) the better. We strive to make this a solid release and your help will really help us to achieve that goal.
Questions? Feedback? Please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Product Manager | Hawaii Information Service