MLS powered search site Roost launched a brand new redesign last week (see Roost.com announces redesign).
Unfortunately, it undid a lot of what I thought made the old site great. But hopefully we only seeing the first iteration of this next generation site and the site will continue to evolve.
Here are a couple things I picked up on:
Speed. The old Roost used to blaze — it was one of the very fastest search tools out there. Search a zip code and the results would pop up very, very quickly. Now it takes a great deal longer for the results page to return and when changing search filters there is a noticeable lag. Hopefully this is just a hiccup in the database that can get optimized over time.
Photos. In the old Roost – photos thumbnails were inline with the results and you could expand the listing to see more images. Now the photos have been moved off to the side and buried below the map. I like the new slide show option but I really couldn’t get over how they seemed to be so hidden on the page – I kept forgetting to look down there as I clicked through listings. To my mind they would be much better above the map in that right rail.
Listing Details. I love that Roost now hosts all the details themselves and doesn’t push you off to a broker site like it used to (see Roost Changes Up Their Game) but the new pop up windows don’t work for me. In fact, I couldn’t even see the listings until I disabled my pop up blocker. Again. hopefully this is only temporary until they can do some kind of inline display like Estately. Also I found it very hard initially to find the View Details button for any listing until I found it at the very bottom right of the page.
Refining Search. Roost’s blades (see Roost Redesigns Search Results) were not universally loved. But they were a novel way to quickly adjust the number of listings you were looking at. Now it took me a few minutes just to figure out how to change the price range, before I spotted Refine Search link next to the search box. Personally I found the green on white text very hard to see.
On the plus side. I did really like the new map search view. You can access that by clicking on the Expand Map link.
In addition to a revamped Roost.com, the company is now offering its search tool to brokers and agents, co-branded of course. So participating partners can benefit from any traffic generated at the main site as well as offer a greater experience to visitors to their own sites.
If they can clear up a few of those nagging issues I mentioned above, I think it could become a very competitive offering to other IDX solutions.