One of the nation’s largest multiple listing services, Chicago area-based Midwest Real Estate Data LLC (MRED), has incorporated responsive design into the online property portals its members share with their clients.

Websites that incorporate responsive design adjust dynamically depending on the screen size and orientation of the device through which they are being viewed, making them easier to read and navigate.

MRED research has shown that mobile devices are popular among both its nearly 40,000 members and consumers, prompting the MLS to take this first step in what will be major initiative to make its data and services more mobile-friendly.

“Whenever we can make it easier and more convenient for our customers to be able to communicate with their clients, we feel we have accomplished one of our major goals — the facilitation of real estate transactions,” said Russ Bergeron, MRED president and CEO, in a statement.

MRED does not have a consumer-facing property search website. Its Consumer Web Pages tool allows brokers to email their clients potential properties of interest from MRED’s dynaConnections Inc. MLS platform, connectMLS, either manually or as part of automated searches set up by brokers for their clients.

connectMLS consumer portal smartphone screen shot

ConnectMLS consumer portal smartphone screen shot

Clients receive an exclusive link to their own personal portal where they can review the properties, identify which ones they are interested in and make comments that trigger automatic notifications to the broker. Clients can also contact the broker via a “Send me a message” function in the portal. Consumers cannot conduct their own home searches on the portal.

Nearly half of consumers receiving property listings from their broker use a mobile device to view them, according to MRED research. And in April alone, MRED’s consumer portals were accessed almost 1 million times from iPhones, the MLS said.

“These numbers are staggering, and will only increase as the mobile Web overtakes desktop and laptop computers,” MRED said in a press release.

MRED, in partnership with dynaConnections, plans to transition its platform to responsive design in stages, prioritizing system features that get the most use in order to introduce useful modifications to the MLS system over time, rather than waiting for the completion of an entire overhaul, the MLS said.

The platform’s search and reports functions for its members will likely be the next step, Bergeron told Inman News.

Other big MLSs such as MLSListings and Metropolitan Regional Information Systems (MRIS) have incorporated responsive design into their public-facing MLS websites. Popular consumer listing portals Zillow, Trulia, and are also mobile-responsive.

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